Books of Note
Nuclear Politics and the Non-Aligned Movement
William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Arundel House, 2012, 154 pp.
William Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova’s new study examines the history of the interaction between the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the West on nuclear issues. The authors contend that Western governments, academics, and nongovernmental organizations are largely unfamiliar with the group’s “politics or perspectives.” They note that NAM’s membership has nearly quintupled since 1961. During that time, some key members underwent dramatic economic growth; some became nuclear-weapon powers. According to Potter and Mukhatzhanova, this process has transformed NAM into a far more heterogeneous group that lacks a single cohesive stance on nuclear issues and often fractures on the basis of national priorities. The book argues that Western states must understand the “core values and priorities” of the movement on the importance of disarmament and what it sees as the inherently discriminatory nature of a nonproliferation regime that punishes potential proliferators while allowing nuclear-weapon states to retain their arsenals. Potter and Mukhatzhanova also point to the importance of personalities and domestic politics in determining how individual states reconcile their commitment to NAM with national priorities. The book emphasizes that NAM is not monolithic and further encourage Western countries to work with NAM members who are open to compromise in international forums, while avoiding interactions with the anti-Western blocs of NAM that seek to stymie progress. Successful cooperation between the West and NAM must be based on an understanding of each other’s priorities and values, as well as a genuine commitment by nuclear-weapon states to pursue nuclear disarmament, the book argues.
The China-India Nuclear Crossroads
Lora Saalman, ed. and trl., Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2012, 229 pp.
This book explores Chinese-Indian nuclear dynamics through “the convergence and divergence in the perceptions of their own and each other’s nuclear posture and practices,” as editor and translator Lora Saalman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace describes it in her introduction. Each chapter is a pair of essays, with one written by one or more Chinese experts and the other by Indian counterparts. One chapter covers minimum deterrence and no-first-use policies; another focuses on the connection between strategic stability and ballistic missile defense; still others cover nuclear energy programs and key arms control and nonproliferation treaties. The dual perspective on deterrence theory and practice provided by Li Deshun and Kalyan Kemburi highlights the “interdependence” between the states that would lay “a good foundation for China and India to build a relationship based on strategic stability,” as Li puts it. In her conclusion, Saalman observes that China and India appear to have similar postures and practices with regard to their nuclear arsenals although China is a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and India is not. This theme of the interplay between similarities and differences recurs throughout the book. Each chapter concludes with recommendations for initiatives to enhance communication and cooperation in those arenas in which overlap between the states is greatest.
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