Books of Note

Detect and Deter: Can Countries Verify the Nuclear Test Ban?

Ola Dahlman et al., Springer, 2011, 271 pp.

Timothy Farnsworth

The resources and technology exist to verify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) effectively, authors Ola Dahlman, Jenifer Mackby, Svein Mykkeltveit, and Hein Haak say in this new technical study, although “few ­countries have established the national resources or expertise needed to efficiently verify compliance with the treaty.” The book proves a detailed analysis of the status of the treaty’s International Monitoring System and on-site inspection regime. The authors argue that emerging technologies and new scientific developments have improved the verification tools available to countries. The authors—each of whom worked on verification issues for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization—­recognize that “verification is a political process in the hands of the states.” They review recent political developments in arms control and argue that “the time has come for countries to act on their priorities, either individually or in cooperation with like-minded countries.” The authors contend that implementation would be more cost effective if countries that have similar political goals and concerns worked together and created regional joint verification centers. According to the authors, “[T]hese joint verification centers will allow more countries to take an active part in CTBT monitoring and increase global engagement.” The volume is likely to serve as a comprehensive resource for diplomats and professionals in arms control verification.



Iran’s Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices

Lynn E. Davis et al., RAND Corporation, June 2011, 152 pp.

Peter Crail

In this study, Lynn E. Davis and her RAND Corporation colleagues Jeffrey Martini, Alireza Nader, Dalia Dassa Kaye, James T. Quinlivan, and Paul Steinberg discuss U.S. policy options to address Iran’s nuclear program and nuclear aspirations. They focus on three U.S. objectives: dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons, deterring Iran from using such weapons if it acquires them, and reassuring U.S. allies in the region that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred. Rather than prescribing certain policy choices, the authors frame trade-offs between different policy options for consideration in the U.S. debate on Iran. The book analyzes three different assumptions of ways to influence Iran and what each of them means for U.S. policy: that Iran responds only to threats and pressure, that Iran is best influenced by being denied the benefits of any negative actions, and that Iran is motivated by its sense of vulnerability. According to the authors, the first scenario would entail an expansion of economic sanctions and military pressure, the response to the second scenario would require more targeted economic sanctions and bolstering regional missile defense and offensive strike capabilities, and the third would necessitate relaxing sanctions and managing conflict escalation. Because the study was prepared for the U.S. Air Force, it focuses particularly on areas with implications for the U.S. military, analyzing Iran’s security posture, the potential paths to a U.S. armed conflict with Iran, and options to provide security assurances to U.S. allies in the region.