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

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Books of Note
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Terrorism, War or Disease?: Unraveling the Use of Biological Weapons
Edited by Anne L. Clunan, Peter R. Lavoy, and Susan B. Martin, Stanford University Press, 2008, 328 pp.

The book’s many authors, from legal, scientific, governmental, and social science backgrounds, examine case studies of confirmed or suspected uses of biological weapons to draw lessons for governments and international organizations. The authors illustrate strategies and factors that affect the response and attribution process. For instance, knowledge of the local context of the possible threat, including information regarding the presence and history of disease and toxin in the region, environmental factors, and sociological and political conditions, is deemed vital. In her own chapter, editor Anne Clunan touts the utility of an international information network that would enable efficient sharing of information with medical professionals and health agencies around the world. The authors also encourage establishing scientific standards of evidence to bolster the legitimacy and credibility of international and domestic biological weapons investigations.


 

The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia
Edited by Muthiah Alagappa, Stanford University Press, 2008, 542 pp.

Editor Muthiah Alagappa, a distinguished senior fellow at the East-West Center, brings together experts to study the larger security environment in Asia. Addressing the lack of studies on Asian nuclear issues as a whole after the end of the Cold War, the authors, from academic and nongovernmental organizations, use country-specific studies to illuminate the issues surrounding the role of nuclear weapons on the continent. They acknowledge that there is little detail available about many states’ nuclear doctrines, yet they argue that, in Asia, “[t]he danger of escalation limits military options in a crisis between nuclear weapon states and shapes the purpose and manner in which military force is used.” In particular, the authors contend that even though nuclear weapons have become ever more destructive, they have had a stabilizing effect, that is, they have deterred the outbreak of major wars and maintained the underlying strategic balance.


 

Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis
Mike Chinoy, St. Martin’s Press, New York, August 2008, 368 pp.

Veteran CNN reporter Mike Chinoy recounts the struggles within the current administration to address North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Chinoy describes a tumultuous Bush administration in which “hard-line” and pro-engagement factions engaged in a tug-of-war over policy influence. Although the book demonstrates that a significant shift in U.S. policy toward North Korea occurred in President George W. Bush’s second term, the story ends at a critical moment in April 2008: Washington’s negotiations with North Korea are brought into question as U.S. intelligence agencies publicly accuse North Korea of aiding a Syrian nuclear weapons program. Describing this event, Chinoy states that, during the Bush administration’s final months, “the internal battle for control of North Korea policy…showed no sign of ending.”


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Posted: November 4, 2008