ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent.

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

January/February 2015 Books of Note
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January/February 2015

Regional Security Dialogue in the Middle East: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities
Chen Kane and Egle Murauskaite, eds., Routledge, 2014, 253 pp.

This collection offers a number of intriguing options for establishing a regional process for arms control and regional security dialogue in the Middle East. To assess the options for moving forward on a security process in the region, the authors of the book’s essays draw on the Helsinki Process, which began in 1972 as a forum for NATO and Warsaw Pact countries to discuss several groups of issues in Europe, including security. Some of the essays offer perspectives on specific states’ responses to the Helsinki model on the lessons that can be drawn from past attempts to establish a regional security dialogue in the Middle East. A noteworthy contribution in this group is the chapter by Ehud Eiran, who says that the prospect of regional cooperation on security to jointly address the concerns caused by failing states in the Middle East is a particular incentive for Israel to participate in a regional dialogue process. Although he acknowledges Israeli skepticism about the positive role that such a process could play, he argues that Israel’s isolation gives it a compelling reason to participate in a process that could transform relations among states in the region. In the book’s concluding section, Patricia Lewis and Karim Kamel offer suggestions for concrete steps toward the creation of a regional security process in the Middle East. Lewis and Kamel emphasize the role of building confidence based on mutually advantageous solutions for less-contentious issues and the establishment of “collective terms of reference” to address shared concerns.—KELSEY DAVENPORT

Moving Beyond Pretense: Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation
Henry Sokolski, ed., Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, 2014, 507 pp.

In the introduction to this collection of 16 essays, Henry Sokolski, the book’s editor, frames them as a “counternarrative” to the “upbeat view” that the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation associated with the spread of nuclear energy programs can be safely managed. Current nonproliferation controls must be significantly tightened, says Sokolski, the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. François Heisbourg’s essay revisits the history of past proliferation and argues that “the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons has not been recognized in the past as an overriding policy objective by the international community, jointly or severally.” In another chapter, Richard Cleary, drawing on case studies of Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, and South Korea, sees a “mixed” record in U.S. efforts to dissuade countries from producing enriched uranium and separated plutonium. He argues that the United States has failed to make nonproliferation a consistent priority and that nuclear fuel-cycle decisions by other countries often are influenced by “a range of dynamics beyond U.S. control, such as security concerns, issues of prestige, and commercial and industrial interests.” Pierre Goldschmidt, a former head of the Department of Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), argues in his contribution that the agency’s safeguards system failed in the cases of Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria because the IAEA “does not have the legal authority it needs to fulfill its mandate” to verify that civilian nuclear programs are not being misused for military purposes and “lacks the necessary cooperation and transparency” from its member states.—KINGSTON REIF

Posted: January 9, 2015