Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2015 Alyssa M. Minamide


This paper evaluates the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal in covering security commitments with its foreign allies, particularly Japan. The U.S. has promised to defend allies all over the world with nuclear forces, and consequently has been forced into a delicate and precarious position. President Barack Obama wants to reach nuclear zero, which would make the world safe from nuclear destruction in the future; yet he also wants to provide security for allied nations in the present, using the
very weapons he has marked for destruction. And he is facing an aging Cold War-era nuclear arsenal that needs serious repairs and upgrades in order to remain a credible and capable deterrent.

This paper argues that while the U.S nuclear posture up to this point has been satisfactory enough to prevent panic and ensure protection of Japan, the evolving nuclear posture from this point onward will strengthen the credibility of existing security commitments, deter potential attackers, and give Japan the confidence to become a more coordinated partner in the relationship. Components of the paper include the evolution of U.S. nuclear strategy and deterrence, the three historical occurrences of tensions between the U.S. and Japan over nuclear issues, and the current concerns and actions in the alliance today.