Planning the Unthinkable: How New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons

By Beyoghlow, K. A. | Naval War College Review, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

Planning the Unthinkable: How New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons


Beyoghlow, K. A., Naval War College Review


Lavoy, Peter, Scott Sagan, and James Wirtz, eds. Planning the Unthinkable: How New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 2000.270pp. $45

The title says it all. This book is a compilation of empirical and analytical data on the strategic evolution of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) agents and weapons in the twenty-first century. A central theme of the book is how new regional players (states and nonstate actors) are likely to convert prevalent conventional military doctrine and training into nonconventional means of warfare. The book is very ambitious in its scope; it attempts-overall, successfully-to address systematically conceptual problems in the integration of such weapons into the military infrastructure, delivery systems, command and control procedures, and war plans. More importantly, the editors and the authors of the various case studies utilize a theoretical framework to explain and predict future trends of behaviors, intentions, and capabilities among very diverse players. Realism and neorealism, organizational theory, and culture are used to flesh out these unique differences in approach as well as in the implementation of NBC programs and doctrines.

Except for the conclusion and the chapter on terrorism, the chapters are case studies, focusing on Iraq, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The authors are specialists who devote a great deal of effort to describing the relationship between strategy and policy, on one hand, and between national security and national military strategy, on the other. The result is a complex web of relationships, behavioral manifestations, and decisionmaking processes involving an amalgam of scientific, bureaucratic, and military institutions and forces. In the chapter on Iran, for example, Gregory Giles eloquently argues that Iran was reluctant on moral and religious grounds to use chemical weapons during the first few years of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-87) but that its policy changed abruptly as a result of rising Iranian casualties and fear of Iraqi chemical-warfare preponderance. Hence, realism became key to explaining the Iranian NBC doctrinal shift after 1987. Although Iran ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention within a few months of its coming into force, Iran has opted to pursue a clandestine NBC program. Such weapons are the subject of intense debate within the increasingly factionalized, institutionalized, and secularized Iranian political elite today. This has given rise to "multiple actors playing roles in a key strategic program[,] ... [ensuring] that there will be continued bureaucratic competition for resources, missions, and influence." More significantly, such competition has far-reaching political, economic, and military implications, associated primarily with command and control mechanisms. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Planning the Unthinkable: How New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.