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The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices Paperback – June 23, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0815713319 ISBN-10: 0815713312 Edition: NULL

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; NULL edition (June 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815713312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815713319
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"THE NUCLEAR TIPPING POINT: WHY STATES RECONSIDER THEIR NUCLEAR CHOICES, should be required reading... it focuses on a new breed of potential proliferators and does a real service by assessing what factors have helped keep most countries from going nuclear--and what factors might tip the balance in the other direction." —Jon B. Wolfsthal, Foreign Affairs, 1/1/2005

"Strong U.S. leadership, the editors say, is needed to harness partners and institutions and to keep countries away from the nuclear tipping point where proliferation becomes inevitable and uncontrollable. They assert we are not near the tipping point now, nor are we necessarily destined to reach it, but they note that, once the tipping process becomes identifiable in the NPT regime, it may be very difficult to stop." —Thomas Graham Jr., former Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Arms Control Today, 11/24/2004

About the Author

Kurt M. Campbell is CEO and cofounder of the Center for a New American Security. He served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific in the Clinton administration. Before that, he taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and served in the Navy. His books include Hard Power:The New Politics of National Security, written with Michael O'Hanlon (Basic Books, 2006). Robert J. Einhorn is senior adviser in the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former assistant secretary for noproliferation at the Department of State. Mitchell B. Reiss was director of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. Vartan Gregorian is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Born in Tabriz, Iran of Armenian parents, he received his elementary education in Iran, secondary education in Lebanon, and higher education in the United States. He has served as president of Brown University, president of the New York Public Library, and founding dean and provost of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. President Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 1998.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book stems from a three-year-long collaboration between the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. Scholars studied eight countries currently committed to nonproliferation - Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - to determine what scenarios might make them change their minds. The objective was to study how the nuclear genie might get out of the bottle - but it also indicates ways to keep it contained. The book intentionally does not focus on proliferator states, such as North Korea or Iran. Even with that omission, we recommend it for the stark realities its research uncovers. One is that non-proliferating nations all look to the U.S. for reassurance that the world will stay safe for those without nuclear weapons. Another is that the world must stop Iran and North Korea's atomic ambitions, lest a tipping point occurs that would provoke other nations to conclude that their security requires swinging the biggest stick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the midst of headlines about possible nuclear weapons being acquired by rogue states, this recent book is quite timely. It addresses what is a slightly puzzling issue. Why, 60 years after the use of nuclear weapons, are there still relatively few nations armed with these weapons? Some projections made in the 1960s postulated that by now, if we hadn't blown ourselves up, there would be scores of nuclear armed nations.

Part of the book explains why this did not come to pass. But the more urgent analysis is devoted to suggesting how in fact it might still come to be. The politics of regional rivalries in east Asia, south Asia and the Middle East is studied. There are knock-on effects of one nation possessing such arms, triggering a frantic effort by its neighbours to also do so.

One thing to note is that the technical obstacles are less than ever before. While still exceedingly nontrivial, the case of Pakistan illustrates how a moderately sized developing country can develop such weapons, given sufficient will and resources.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BernardZ on March 6, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To build an atomic bomb, you only need 1940s technology. Not only that, but as the book points out to many countries, a nuclear defence is cheaper than a conventional one. Many states like Israel's nuclear weapons give it a defence that it could never get from a conventional one. As the book further points out the world does not punish states going nuclear much. So why have so few states gone for a nuclear defense?

It is a fascinating issue. This book takes us through several countries and discussion that they had in this question. The important debates on getting nuclear weapons in most countries is hidden even in democratic countries. For example, few people in the US, Britain, France or Israel knew of their country nuclear weapons program until they had a bomb. So many of the debates, I felt were guesswork of what people were likely to say.

Two problems with the book, I though was looking at the physical weapon rather than many states today, which are virtual nuclear states. They could have a bomb in a few months if they wanted it. We probably have a more nuclear proliferation then they admit.

The second it did not discuss the vulnerability a state has to nuclear weapons, for example, Egypt with the Nile. A few conventual and nuclear weapon blasts and most of Egypt's water is cut off. Maybe the Egyptians' have sound military reasons to not have nuclear weapons.

Finally, the book does not fill me with hope. North Korea has a bomb, and it appears that Iran will have one soon. Both from reading the book will cause ripple effects in the neighboring countries if they doubt the US nuclear commitment to them.
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