With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, U.S. security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players.
This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what we may be up against over the next few decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? How great will the consequences be? What can be done?
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Henry D. Sokolski is the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC). He previously served in the Senate as a nuclear and military legislative aide and in the Pentagon as Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy and as a full-time consultant on proliferation issues in the Secretary of Defense's Office of Net Assessment.
He also served as a member of the Central Intelligence Agency's Senior Advisory Group, on two Congressional nuclear proliferation commissions, and has authored and edited numerous volumes on strategic weapons proliferation.
"Underestimated is a powerfully concise volume, 15 years in the making... [It] is not an upbeat book. But it is an essential one."--The Weekly Standard
"Underestimated could not be more timely and important. We need a serious public debate about nuclear weapons, the dangers they still pose, and their role in twenty-first century policymaking. Sokolski's thoughtful, provocative book is the right place to start."--Eric Schlosser, Author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
"Everyone worried about nuclear issues will profit enormously from this book."--Ambassador John R. Bolton, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
"An excellent, short-winded read."--Carnes Lord, Director, Naval War College Press
"Nuclear weapons are not going away, and Sokolski has given us a perceptive guide to their future, the problems the U.S. is likely to face, and how we might deal with them. This study could not be more timely, fair-minded, or incisive."--Robert Jervis, Columbia University
"This book is excellent, timely, comprehensive, and persuasive."--Ambassador Joseph R. DeTrani, former Director of the National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
"This is a book that belongs on the shelf of every policymaker."--Dov S. Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense
"Get it. It's required reading."--Ambassador Robert L. Gallucci, Georgetown University,former Dean of Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
"A university professor teaching international security could not ask for a more concise yet comprehensive primer on the challenges and dangers surrounding the 21st century spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology. It's the best single book on the subject since the Sagan-Waltz exchange of views that appeared 20 years ago. Indeed, to say it is an essential contribution to the literature on the subfield understates the underestimated."--Randy Willoughby, Professor, University of San Diego and University of California at San Diego
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