[Pondering NATO's Nuclear Options: Gambits for a Post-Westphalian World]

Article excerpt

PONDERING NATO'S NUCLEAR OPTIONS

Gambits for a Post-Westphalian World

Edited by David G. Haglund

Kingston: Queens University/Queen's Quarterly, 1999, 208pp, $9.50 paper

The end of the cold war has seen the emergence of a range of new players, new problems, and new security threats in the international arena. While the nation-state retains considerable prominence, international organizations, transnational corporations, and a variety of sub-state actors account for an ever-growing amount of action on the world stage. Beyond this, the dangers of sub-state conflict, international terrorism, disease and environmental degradation increasingly compete with interstate war as the threats of most pressing concern.

What role, if any, do nuclear arms play within this emerging strategic context? Furthermore, what role do they play in the new Europe? This volume seeks to address these questions. Written by a group of American, Canadian, and European academics, the study offers a number of assessments of the role of nuclear weapons, in general and from the perspective of Western nations in particular. The result is an informative examination of an important topic.

Authors note that the role of nuclear arms has clearly narrowed in light of changing international circumstances. Old threats have receded and new challenges suggest less need for large nuclear arsenals. Still, the elimination of nuclear weapons remains premature. A highly fluid and uncertain threat environment continues to demand retention of nuclear insurance policies. …