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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The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World’s Most Dangerous Secrets…And How We Could Have Stopped Him
By Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins, Twelve Books, 2007, 413 pp.

Frantz and Collins explore the investigations into Pakistani nuclear official Abdul Qadeer Khan, who operated the most extensive nuclear trafficking network in history. The authors highlight how U.S. intelligence agencies gathered evidence on Khan’s nuclear-smuggling network for nearly three decades but were reluctant to act due to the need for assistance from Islamabad on other concerns. They also touch on the murky question of whether the Pakistani government was complicit in Khan’s proliferation activities with other countries, and explore what Islamabad’s military and civilian leadership did or did not know about Khan’s illicit activities. After describing efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency and other governmental security agencies to unravel Khan’s network, the authors examine methods the international community can adopt to curb future nuclear proliferation.

Incapacitating Biochemical Weapons: Promise or Peril?
Edited by Alan M. Pearson, Marie Isabelle Chevrier, and Mark Wheelis, Lexington Books, 2007, 306 pp.

This book examines a variety of issues surrounding the development and use of incapacitating biochemical weapons. Proponents of biochemical incapacitants see them as a humane and effective military option in certain situations because they are not supposed to result in death or permanent injury. However, the editors contend that the Biological Weapons and Chemical Weapons Conventions effectively outlaw the development, production, and use of such weapons. The contributing authors go on to explore a wide range of topics, from the role of the pharmaceutical industry in research and development, to the historical context for considering incapacitating biochemical weapons, to the perceived military uses for such weapons. They argue that governments, international organizations, and society as a whole must soon address the issues surrounding incapacitating biochemical weapons.

Reluctant Restraint: The Evolution of China’s Nonproliferation Policies and Practices, 1980-2004
By Evan S. Medeiros, Stanford University Press, 2007, 357 pp.

Evan S. Medeiros, a senior political scientist at RAND, probes the reasons Chinese policy changed from being openly opposed to global nonproliferation norms in 1980 to being at least nominally supportive of them in 2004. Medeiros contends that China’s nonproliferation policies have had four major inputs: U.S. policy intervention, China’s acceptance of nonproliferation norms, its foreign policy priorities, and its institutional capacity to implement its various commitments. By reviewing numerous U.S. policy efforts and the effects they’ve had on Chinese policy, he finds that U.S. interventions have been the chief causal influence on Chinese nonproliferation policy over the past 25 years. The author finds that a combination of incentives and frequent negotiations had the biggest effect on nuclear nonproliferation. A wider variety of tools, ranging from demarches and sanctions to incentives and presidential summits, were effective at changing Chinese missile nonproliferation policy. Ultimately, his exploration of the China case seems to point to a broader conclusion: steady U.S. diplomacy can have significant effects on the nonproliferation policies of other countries.

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Posted: April 1, 2008