Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security

Article excerpt

Koblentz, Gregory D. Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 2009. 272pp. $35

Gregory D. Koblentz, the deputy director of the Biodefense Graduate Program and assistant professor of government and politics at George Mason University, has written an outstanding analysis of one of the most significant national security challenges of the modern era. The author devotes five crisp chapters, written in easily understandable terms, to the complexities of the potential use of biologicals in modern warfare.

He describes the national security implications of the potential use of biological weapons by state actors as well as those with no state affiliation. One of the areas Koblentz addresses, in necessary detail, is the existence of many barriers to preventing proliferation of biological weapons by states, nonstate actors, and terrorists.

Koblentz uses case studies to review the biological warfare programs of Iraq, Russia, and South Africa, speculating on the strategic assessment of the risks and benefits each country may have considered in determining whether to proceed with the development of these offensive weapons. …