Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons
By Joseph Cirincione, Columbia University Press, March 2007, 192 pp.
Part history, part theory, and part policy guide, this short volume serves as a primer on nuclear proliferation. Cirincione, an arms control expert now at the Center for American Progress, presents a comprehensive work that is clear to a novice without shortchanging the complexities of the subject. He includes a brief tutorial on nuclear physics as well as the history of nuclear weapons development and its Cold War legacy. He also offers his views on what leads states to build or to shun nuclear weapons. In doing so, Cirincione questions the wisdom of current U.S. nonproliferation policy. That policy, he says, focuses on denying weapons to states with poor relations with the United States rather than a more general attempt to halt nuclear weapons acquisitions. Instead, Cirincione argues that policy efforts should be directed at reducing what he characterizes as today’s three main nuclear dangers: nuclear terrorism, the spread of dual-use fuel-cycle technologies of uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing for plutonium, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new states.
Arms Control in the Middle East: Cooperative Security Dialogue and Regional Constraints
By Emily B. Landau, Sussex Academic Press, July 2006, 172 pp.
Emily Landau, a senior researcher at Israel’s Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies, examines the complex nature of arms control agreements in the Middle East. In particular, she looks at the Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS) talks held from 1991 to 1995, based on interviews with the principals and an examination of the documentary record. The ACRS discussions involved Israel and 12 Arab states, except Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, and were aimed at the eventual elimination of weapons of mass destruction in the region. Landau ascribes the ultimate failure of the talks on Egypt’s decision to take a different tack than other Arab states. Egypt, the historic Arab leader, wanted to use the talks to put pressure on Israel to renounce its nuclear weapons. Surprisingly, the other Arab states joined with Israel in calling for confidence- and security-building measures that aimed at stabilizing the region rather than for nuclear disarmament. Although acknowledging that circumstances have changed since the ACRS talks, Landau writes that such confidence- and security-building measures remain highly relevant.
Small Arms and Security
By Denise Garcia, Routledge, October 2006, 266 pp.
Denise Garcia, a research fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, examines the recent emergence of international norms governing the small arms trade. Garcia’s study analyzes two groups of norms: one group that receives support from the international community and another group that does not. Garcia views as successful norms governing the destruction and disposal of surplus weapons, the regulation of illicit arms brokering, and the marking and tracing of small arms. She says all share three crucial elements for success: coalition building among several actors, effective dissemination of information, and the existence of norm-building sites in the form of international and regional multilateral forums. Garcia argues that those seeking to develop other norms should take advantage of these tactics. For example, although some states have blocked the regulation of civilian arms in multilateral negotiations, there is increasing cooperation among states and nongovernmental organizations to address the issue, possibly foreshadowing its eventual acceptance as norm.
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