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Deterring America: Rogue States and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction [Hardcover]

Derek D. Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 12, 2006 0521864658 978-0521864657 1
Faced with America's military superiority, many countries are turning to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a means to deter United States intervention. However, the events of September 11 awakened America to a degree of vulnerability it had never experienced before, making it increasingly unwilling to tolerate such weapons in the hands of unstable and unpredictable regimes. Through theoretical, historical, and prescriptive lenses, this book explores the modern security dilemma created by the twin fears of American encroachment and vulnerability which form a vicious cycle of insecurity that challenges traditional notions of deterrence. Using Iraq and North Korea as case studies, Smith argues that the United States may need to re-evaluate its foreign policy strategies against WMD proliferation, giving renewed attention to defensive measures, negotiated disarmament, interdiction, and perhaps preemption.

Editorial Reviews


"Many experts believed that the Cold War's end would create a more peaceful world, where the sole superpower would prevent acts of international aggression or punish wrongdoers. The rapid U.S. response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was taken as a sign of things to come. However, violent extremists and rogue states now operate in brazen defiance of international laws and norms. Why deterrence and other time-tested influence strategies have failed to prevent terrorism and the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction is the subject Derek Smith tackles with impressive theoretical depth and empirical sweep. As the title suggests, Deterring America explains how new adversaries, which are aptly called suicide states, have been able to outplay the United States in a contest of wills and deterrence strategies. Students and scholars will find the book an excellent orientation to the new security environment, while security analysts and policymakers would do well to pay close attention to its thoughtful insights and recommendations." Peter R. Lavoy, Naval Postgraduate School

"Deterrence emerged in an era of a relative stability between a handful of nuclear powers. Derek Smith's Deterring America adeptly reevaluates the utility of the concept in light of Iran and North Korea's continued interest in acquiring the bomb, the unraveling of A.Q. Khan's nuclear network, and the very real threat of a nuclear terrorist attack on the American homeland." Graham Allison, Harvard University, author of Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (2004)

"This is an important and major reassessment of deterrence in the age of WMDs. Smith's analysis of the challenges posed by rogue states to America's deterrence and counter-proliferation strategies is excellent, as is his teasing out of a more nuanced strategy for America. Of particular interest is his analysis of Iraq and North Korea, and the lessons they portend for the United States and other 'states of concern'." Yuen Foong Khong, University of Oxford

"The book is a well-written itnroduction to deterrence theory and some of the contemporary issues that confront it. Smith is measured in his argumetns and conclusions, and his recommendations for developing a global regime to prohibit and interdict WMD transfer are worth exploring." - Andrew H. Kydd, University of Wisconsin

Book Description

The events of September 11th have caused the United States to re-evaluate its policy towards 'rogue states' armed with weapons of mass destruction. The author argues that the United States may look beyond deterrence and give renewed attention to defensive measures, negotiated disarmament, interdiction, and perhaps preemption.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (June 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521864658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521864657
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,710,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's A New World Out There! December 20, 2007
Smith tells us that the world is no longer a standoff of the titans; rather, it's now one superpower and several major powers. Conflict is now much more likely between mismatched nations vs. the U.S., and assured destruction is no longer mutual in the same way.

New "rogue" states (eg. Iraq, Iran, and North Korea) and terrorists no longer offer the simple "MAD" (mutually assured destruction) of prior decades. Crazies, hypersensitivity regarding honor, and potential foreign-states' delegation of "button-pushing" power down the military chain of command have created a new environment. And then there's the terrorist nightmare - smuggling a nuclear weapon into the United States, possibly supplied by a rogue state.

Reality is that it is impossible to defend the U.S. against all threats. We need to reduce the motivation for others to want to harm us - eg. our prior interventions in Iran and Iraq, stationing troops (including females) in Saudi Arabia, and lopsided support for Israel have created enormous and dangerous hatred for the U.S. (This is simply a recognition of the new reality, and DOES NOT EXCUSE 9/11!) The U.S. spends about as much on defense as the rest of the world combined - yet, we are quite insecure, and "Deterring America" helps explain why. Obviously, something is wrong with our thinking.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facing a Different Future November 7, 2006
The American military showed the world what they could do during Gulf War I and during the combat phase of Gulf War II. The big lessons was clear:

The American way of war had improved so much that fighting them was not unlike the days of the British rifles and machine guns against native spears.

American stealth aircraft couldn't be shot down. The radars, command and control systems, anti-aircraft weapons simply didn't work against them.

The American command and control systems were so much better than those of the Iraqi Army that the quality of equipment like tanks didn't have to be better.

And the tanks were better. I was visiting the Winchester military ammunition booth at a trade show when an officer just back from Gulf I came by and told the Winchester salesman 'Thank You. Your ammunition goes through the armor of any tank the Iraqi army had, and their ammunition bounced off of our tanks.'

The conclusion is really quite simple. If you want to fight against the Americans you either have to out wait them while they kill lots of your people (the North Vietnam approach), or you have to have weapons of Mass Destruction (Iran, North Korea).

This book talks about what the rogue states are doing, and how the ideas about deterring the United States are being formulated in the rest of the world. It's clear that the 'mutual assured desctuction' or MAD doctrine doesn't work the same way it did with the Soviet Union. It's points are interesting. Unfortunately we will have to wait several years to see how it all turns out.
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