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– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
Books of Note
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The Tradition of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons

T.V. Paul, Stanford University Press, 2009, 319 pp.

Professor T. V. Paul of McGill University examines the tradition of nonuse of nuclear weapons that has been the informal global norm since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Paul ponders why nuclear-weapon states have refrained from using their strategic arsenals in conflicts with non-nuclear-weapon states, even when the nuclear power is faced with losing the war. He concludes that nuclear-weapon states are constrained by "reputational interests" that arise from the "destabilizing and absolute character of nuclear weapons." Paul traces the development of the tradition of nonuse, or "self-deterrence," in the strategic policy of the five recognized nuclear powers, as well as India, Israel, and Pakistan. In the final chapter of the book, Paul considers possible threats to the tradition in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, in an era of asymmetric warfare and nonstate actors.


International Law and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Daniel H. Joyner, Oxford University Press, 2009, 378 pp.

Daniel H. Joyner, an associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, examines the legal basis for and dynamics behind global arms control and nonproliferation efforts from international treaty regimes to the Bush doctrine of pre-emption and the use of force. He begins with an analysis of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which he characterizes as a contract between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states in which a violation by one set of parties could void the obligations of the other set. Joyner compares such a framework with the more universal obligations under the biological weapons and chemical weapons regimes. He then considers the UN disarmament machinery and the role of the Security Council in nonproliferation efforts, tackling the question of whether the council overstepped its bounds by setting domestic legal requirements under Resolution 1540. Finally, Joyner argues that there is a crisis in international law on the use of force law. This problem stems from the security prerogatives of powerful states to address weapons of mass destruction proliferation and is exemplified by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he says.


The Future of Biological Disarmament: Strengthening the Treaty Ban on Weapons

Nicholas A. Sims, Routledge, 2009, 216 pp.

Nicholas A. Sims provides an in-depth examination of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and describes the events of the Sixth Review Conference of the BWC, which took place Nov. 20-Dec. 8, 2006. Sims says that the conference did not address the important issue of verification and compliance, and argues that to strengthen the regime in the near term, the BWC should take incremental steps to address "institutional deficits." One such measure would be to establish an accountability framework for state compliance, Sims says. In the long term, the BWC needs an implementation body similar to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, he says. He concludes by examining the alternative futures of the treaty:convergence or reinforcement. Under convergence, Sims sees a potential merging of the BWC with the Geneva Protocol, the Chemical Weapons Convention, or a more comprehensive disarmament treaty. But Sims sees BWC reinforcement-characterized by the steps he outlines-as the more likely scenario, at least in the near term.


 

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