Best of Intentions: America's Campaign against Strategic Weapons Proliferation

Best of Intentions: America's Campaign against Strategic Weapons Proliferation

Best of Intentions: America's Campaign against Strategic Weapons Proliferation

Best of Intentions: America's Campaign against Strategic Weapons Proliferation

Synopsis

Sokolski examines the United States' efforts to prevent the spread of strategic weapons since 1945 and draws on its history to recommend how to improve future nonproliferation policies. The most comprehensive historical analysis of U.S. nonproliferation policy ever written.

Excerpt

Henry Sokolski has done us all a great service by parsing, briefly and succinctly, the tangled history of nonproliferation and by relating it to the problems we face today.

If you have trouble keeping the acronyms straight—or, more importantly, figuring out what the Baruch Plan, Atoms for Peace, the npt, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group can teach us about Saddam threatening us someday with a nuclear-tipped missile—this fine volume is exactly what you need.

To give only one example of how Sokolski makes nonproliferation’s past relevant and informative: he explains clearly how the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty came to be internally inconsistent, with its early articles focusing on preventing the spread of nuclear technology to non-nuclear countries and its later ones focusing on the need to limit the size of the two superpowers’ arsenals. Today there is again tension between those who focus on blocking horizontal proliferation (i.e., preventing increasing numbers of nations from obtaining weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles and those who are much more concerned about the vertical variety (the size of the few nuclear powers’ arsenals).

Sokolski leaves no doubt where he stands (and I would agree)—that horizontal proliferation is a problem in its own right and that we create serious difficulties in addressing it when we overemphasize the urgency for further U.S.-Russian arsenal reductions and concomitantly affirm mutual assured destruction and the targeting of civilians. (As one wag put this philosophy years ago, “Offense is defense. Defense is offense. Weap-

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