Controlling Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons: Obstacles and Opportunities

Article excerpt

Jeffrey A. Larsen and Kurt J. Klingenberger, eds., The USAF Institute for National Security Studies, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2001, 356 pages. Out of print.

This compendium of 13 articles is an attempt to bring together a summary on nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) as discussed at the November 2000 Airlie Conference in Warrenton, Virginia. Because of its format and the varying views 75 experts expressed in regard to arms control, nuclear weapons, and national-security strategy, the book contains some healthy academic disagreement and does not attempt to provide an overarching theme. The foreword states quite clearly, that "the important point is that Russia at any time might choose to leave a dead-end of its own making. Foreseeing that time and being ready for it is the purpose of this unique book."

To organize material encompassing such a complicated subject, the editors assigned each article to one of four different sections: "Defining the NSNW Problem," "Contending Objectives," "Obstacles," and "Possible Solutions." This approach works to a limited extent. However, there is a significant amount of redundancy between articles, and the articles within the sections often do not fulfill the promise of section titles. Perhaps most illustrative of this is the section on Possible Solutions. If readers expect to find even a hint of a clear-cut strategy, they will be sorely disappointed. …