Cruise Missile Proliferation in the 1990s

Cruise Missile Proliferation in the 1990s

Cruise Missile Proliferation in the 1990s

Cruise Missile Proliferation in the 1990s

Synopsis

The proliferation of advanced weapons to volatile regions of the world has become a major issue in the post Cold War era. It was thought that no Third World nation could ever pose a technologically-based threat to the great powers by acquiring advanced weaponry. But this has proved to be wrong. The Persian Gulf War changed the worldwide perception of the spread of ballistic missiles to countries like Iraq. Access to a new type of weapon--cruise missiles--poses an even greater threat. With technology that is accessible, affordable, and relatively simple to produce, Third World countries could acquire highly accurate, long-range cruise missile forces to escalate local conflicts and threaten the forces and even the territories of the industrial powers.

Excerpt

A steady trend for several decades, the proliferation of advanced weapons to volatile regions of the world seemed to come of age as an issue in the early 1990s. Partly this was the result of more focused attention by world leaders previously blinded by the preoccupations of superpower rivalry. In a highly stratified international security system divided between the technologically powerful few and a far weaker majority, it was long assumed that no Third World country could ever pose a serious threat to the great powers. With the exception of nuclear forces, efforts to control the international dissemination of weapons and technology were accordingly not given urgent priority.

The 1980s changed this perception. It was a time in which defense industries in the West and the former Soviet Union, under increasing fiscal constraints, competed for exports to almost any nation that could pay; when Third World weapons producers, such as China, North Korea, and Pakistan, were acquiring greater capabilities to develop and export weapons without interference from the industrial world or international law; when it was no longer possible to ignore the weaknesses of export controls, as Iraq, North Korea, and other military antagonists openly circumvented international strictures; and when the long-held illusion

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