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Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation
June 2, 2022
Books of Note
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Deterrence Stability and Escalation Control in South Asia

Michael Krepon and Julia Thompson, eds., The Stimson Center, 2013, 211 pp.

Stability resulting from nuclear deterrence in South Asia “is far from assured” and “is likely to deteriorate if current trend lines continue,” Michael Krepon and Julia Thompson write in their introduction to this volume of 10 essays. Experts in South Asian politics and nuclear weapons programs identify root causes of instability in nuclear deterrence between India and Pakistan and suggest U.S. policies that could help address them. One of these root causes, according to Krepon and Thompson, is the expansion of missile and nuclear capabilities, which has “far outpaced nuclear risk reduction diplomacy in the 15 years since India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998.” Dinshaw Mistry’s essay reviews the Indian and Pakistani missile programs in detail and argues that the pursuit of short-range and very-short-range ballistic missiles, sea-based missiles, and new types of cruise missiles has “weakened deterrence stability” by introducing missiles that are “more vulnerable to attack, by weakening command and control arrangements, by raising nuclear ambiguity issues, and by making escalation control more difficult.” In another chapter, George Perkovich says that violent extremist groups in Pakistan could provoke crises leading to conventional and perhaps nuclear war and argues that the safest way to reinforce deterrence stability is for the Pakistani government “to make unambiguous efforts to restore the monopoly on the legitimate use of force that is central to modern statehood.” Perkovich concludes that the United States should frame its objectives in terms of stabilizing Indian-Pakistani deterrence instead of countering nuclear terrorism or strengthening the nonproliferation regime.—LANCE GARRISON

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman, Oxford University Press, 2014, 306 pp.

This book attempts to fill what the authors describe as the large knowledge gap on cybersecurity issues that exists between the older generation of policymakers that did not grow up with personal computers and the younger generation of users currently growing up in the digital age. P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman, fellows at the Brookings Institution, cover topics ranging from basic issues of how networks and the Internet function to complex issues of cyberwar and cyberweapons. They argue that such weapons, which are capable of destroying pieces of physical infrastructure, will be major elements of future wars. One noteworthy aspect of the book is its historical perspective, which includes frequent references to nuclear weapons and the Cold War. One example is Singer and Friedman’s analysis of the perceived arms race in cyberspace apparently taking place among states. When it comes to developing sophisticated cyberweapons, the authors say the world is at the same point in time as it was in the 1940s with regard to the development of the atomic bomb. A key difference, however, is that instead of two states having the technology, more and more actors are able to develop it. As a result, countries are continually searching for new, more-sophisticated cyberweapons. Singer and Friedman say countries have a choice: either continue to build up their arsenals of cyberweapons and be a “slave to fear” or “recognize the mutual risks that all participants in cyberspace face from this new arms race and explore how we can be responsible stakeholders.”—TIMOTHY FARNSWORTH