Title: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: a Debate
Publisher: W. W. Norton, New York, London
Publication Date: 1995
Edition: 1st Edition.
x, 160p., original cloth. Bookseller Inventory # 018385
Synopsis: If the build-up of nuclear weapons was a significant factor in maintaining the "long peace" between the United States and the Soviet Union, will the spread of nuclear weapons beyond these two superpowers stabilize or disrupt international relations. In this book, two scholars of international politics debate the issue. Kenneth Waltz argues that fear of the spread of nuclear weapons is unfounded - "more may be better". Nuclear proliferation may be a stabilizing force, as it decreases the likelihood of war by increasing its costs. Scott Sagan, however, argues that nuclear proliferation will make the world less stable - "more will be worse". Nuclear-armed states may not possess the internal structures that would ensure safe and rational control of nuclear weapons. Written for a general audience, this book is intended to help the public understand more clearly the role of nuclear weapons in the new world order.
From Library Journal:
Sagan and Waltz, from Stanford and Berkeley, respectively, present a short, intellectual exchange on an often covered topic. Waltz, the optimist, argues that because nuclear weapons "will nevertheless spread," the end result will be stabilizing. His main point is that "nuclear weapons make wars hard to start" and that even radical states will act like rational ones because of the mutually deterrent effort of nuclear weapons. Sagan, the pessimist, fears the worst because of "inherent limits in organizational reliability." The parochial interests of professional military leaders in emerging nuclear states, who will tend to see war as "inevitable" and skeptically view any nonmilitary alternatives, will lead to deterrence failures or accidental war. In addition, Sagan argues these states will probably lack "positive mechanisms of civilian control" to restrain militant tendencies. Waltz and Sagan also offer short essays recapping the main points. For such a short book, there is much to ponder here.?John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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