The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor
By William Langewiesche, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, May 2007, 179 pp.
Pulling together articles that first appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, William Langewiesche profiles three characters to illustrate how the great powers have lost their monopoly on nuclear weapons. He seeks to enter the mind of all terrorists, probing nuclear stockpile defenses for vulnerabilities. The thought experiment reveals that even the lowest-hanging nuclear fruit can be difficult to reach for most terrorists. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s rise as a self-styled nuclear Robin Hood dominates the book and personifies the inevitable spread of nuclear know-how to poorer states. Finally, Langewiesche chronicles Khan’s eventual ruin through the work of trade journalist Mark Hibbs. The book warns that nuclear arrivistes are more likely than traditional possessors to use their weapons. Langewiesche worries that the present nuclear regime cannot prevent such malignant enfranchisement. Any state with sufficient determination can acquire what he calls “the fast-track, nation-equalizing, don’t tread- on-me, flat-out-awesome destructive power” of nuclear weapons.
Space as a Strategic Asset
By Joan Johnson-Freese, Columbia University Press, March 2007, 304 pp.
Joan Johnson-Freese calls for U.S. space policy to lead the world to greater levels of cooperation and away from the trappings of an arms race in space. Johnson-Freese, a scholar at the U.S. Naval War College, eloquently, if sometimes sardonically, claims that the United States’ emphasis on military uses of space and its attempts to deny other nations access to dual-use space technologies, hurts U.S. strategic interests. Instead, she argues for international space cooperation, contending that, in its absence, the United States will only drive Europe and, more importantly, China to develop independent capabilities that could unseat the United States’ dominant position in space. The book examines subjects ranging from the history of space policy to the politicization of the aerospace industry and the military’s reach into space. She calls on policymakers to cut through bureaucracy and politics to establish policy that is bold, financially sustainable across successive administrations, and aimed at the twin goals of preventing a space arms race and maintaining the United States’ place as a world leader.
The Small Arms Trade: A Beginner’s Guide
By Rachel Stohl, Matt Schroeder, and Dan Smith, Oneworld Publications, February 2007, 192 pp.
The Small Arms Trade: A Beginner’s Guide is a primer designed to present the problem of small arms and light weapons proliferation in terms accessible to the general public. The authors, Rachel Stohl, Matt Schroeder, and Dan Smith, appeal to a broad audience in an effort to increase awareness about a major threat to international peace and security, more widespread but less understood than that posed by chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. The book looks at two particularly devastating types of weapons, the AK-47 and shoulder-fired missiles, to illustrate the dangers and consequences of the indiscriminate spread of small arms and light weapons. Despite the increasing number of initiatives to tackle the trafficking of these arms, the authors ultimately conclude that a truly adequate response necessitates a more comprehensive approach in which all states cooperate to control supply, address demand, and end misuse of these deadly instruments.
Are you interested in purchasing these books? You can help support the Arms Control Association by visiting one of our partners.