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Contexto Internacional

versão impressa ISSN 0102-8529versão On-line ISSN 1982-0240


AVILA, Fabrício Schiavo; MARTINS, José Miguel  e  CEPIK, Marco. Strategic weapons and power in international system: the arise of direct energy weapons and their potential impact over the war and multipolar distribution of capabilities. Contexto int. [online]. 2009, vol.31, n.1, pp.49-83. ISSN 0102-8529.

The evolution of the Post-Cold War (1991-2006) international system shows a significant amount of change regarding the strategic capabilities of United States, Russia, and China. The rise of a new class of strategic weapons called directed energy weapons (lasers and high power microwaves), as well as the great costs associated with the quest for nuclear primacy, demand closer examination of the current assumption about the links between nuclear primacy and unipolar distribution of power in the International System. Starting with the current tensions between US and Russia, we try to reveal in this article what kind of competition might be observed in the international system over the next decade. The present work analyzes the real possibilities of the USA achieving an effective nuclear primacy condition, which requires the complete disarmament of all other powers. Since a nuclear war between the three countries has a very high political cost, disputes tend to be settled on the operational sphere. In order to demonstrate this final point, we made comparative use of two nuclear war scenarios. The article concludes by establishing the tactical and operational conditions that Russia and China seems to counting with in order to defeat United States if a shooting war comes.

Palavras-chave : Nuclear Weapons; Polarity; War; Directed Energy Weapons; Russia; China; United States of America.

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