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Bomb Scare: The History & Future of Nuclear Weapons Kindle Edition
“A welcome antidote to the strange confluence of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) opponents” by one of America’s best known weapons experts (Christopher F. Chyba, Science).
With clarity and expertise, Joseph Cirincione presents an even-handed look at the history of nuclear proliferation and an optimistic vision of its future, providing a comprehensive survey of the wide range of critical perspectives.
Cirincione begins with the first atomic discoveries of the 1930s and covers the history of their growth all the way to current crisis with Iran. He unravels the science, strategy, and politics that have fueled the development of nuclear stockpiles and increased the chance of a nuclear terrorist attack. He also explains why many nations choose not to pursue nuclear weapons and pulls from this the outlines of a solution to the world’s proliferation problem: a balance of force and diplomacy, enforcement and engagement that yields a steady decrease in these deadly arsenals.
Though nuclear weapons have not been used in war since August 1945, there is no guarantee this good fortune will continue. A unique blend of history, theory, and security analysis, Bomb Scare is an engaging text that not only supplies the general reader and student with a clear understanding of this issue but also provides a set of tools policymakers and scholars can use to prevent the cataclysmic consequences of another nuclear attack.
“Invaluable . . . [Bomb Scare] ought to be read by everyone as a matter of life and death.”—New York Review of Books
A welcome antidote to the strange confluence of nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT) opponents. -- Christopher F. Chyba ― Science --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Joseph Cirincione is the Director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, (Second Edition, 2005) and co-author of Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005). He teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service and is one of America's best known weapons experts, appearing frequently in print and on FOX News, CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR and occasionally on Comedy Central. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B003UNK25W
- Publisher : Columbia University Press (February 27, 2007)
- Publication date : February 27, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1241 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 254 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,490 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #102 in Arms Control (Kindle Store)
- #165 in Nuclear Weapons & Warfare History (Kindle Store)
- #342 in Arms Control (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Cirincione, the former director of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, takes the reader through the history of the development of nuclear weapons and the arms control agreements that have somewhat curtailed their spread. He presents a rational analysis of the drivers that cause states to seek to acquire nuclear weapons as well as the barriers that motivate some to turn away from the quest, or abandon it altogether.
And in the light of reasoned consideration he concludes, "The good news is that the nonproliferation regime has worked. The nuclear threat is less severe today than it was in 1970 when the Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force". He bases this assessment on the fact that "the number of nuclear weapons in the world has declined from a peak of 65,000 in 1986, to roughly 27,000 today". But does this necessarily make the world a safer place?
Cirincione takes satisfaction that "the threat of a global thermonuclear war is now near zero". He goes on to state, "The dangers we face today are very serious, but they are orders of magnitude less severe than those we confronted just two decades ago from the overkill potential of U.S. and Russian arsenals. We no longer worry about the fate of the earth, but we still worry about the fate of our cities". It is in the ensuing discussion of nuclear terrorism that the upbeat tenor of the author's faith in the potential of negotiations and agreements to manage the imminent threat increasingly seems disconnected from reality.
While it is true that the threat of global thermonuclear war has diminished, the probability all out nuclear war was always very low as a result of the Strangelovian logic of mutually assured destruction. On the other hand, the likelihood of the detonation of a nuclear weapon smuggled into an American city by terrorists in the next decade is clearly significant. While such an event would not be the end of life on this planet, its societal, economic and political consequences would almost certainly be the end of life as we have come to know it. And, millions of people would die. This being the case, how can the author argue that the world is safer now than it was twenty years ago?
Cirincione also contends that the reduction in ballistic missiles is an indicator of a reduction of risk in the present day. What he neglects to consider is that weapons dispatched through alternate means - say in shipping containers with GPS activation - do not leave a return address, and as a result would not invite immediate retaliation. It would seem that a country hostile to the United States could launch such an attack with an impunity that would be inconceivable were the method of delivery a ballistic missile.
In this context it's hard to buy into the author's upbeat assessment of the future. As he would have it, securing existing weapons and stocks of fissile materials, new rounds of negotiations employing various carrots and sticks, and the good example of further disarmament by the US and Russia hold the promise of a better and a safer world. The problem is that while these actions are indeed necessary they are certainly not sufficient to produce the intended outcome. This is particularly the case given that some future nuclear adversaries may hold to apocalyptic world views.
Towards the end of the book Cirincione writes, "After wading through the history, theory, dangers, challenges and failures of proliferation policy, most readers could be excused for feeling a bit depressed. Don't be".
I guess I just can't help it. I am.
For those that don't know what this book is about, it is quite simple to understand as the author makes it clear in his introduction: "the proliferation of nuclear weapons is undesirable" (Cirincioine xi). This book informs the reader about what a nuclear weapon is, what reasons states have for acquirement, what the international community has done to cease proliferation, and who has nuclear weapons. These ideas a supported with examples, graphs, and general evidence.
I highly recommend it to all those that are interested in the topic!
Clearly he has his agenda as head of the Ploughshares Fund, but facts are facts, and they're presented well in "Bomb Scare."
Bruce A. Roth, Executive Director
Author of "No Time To Kill"