Israel and the Bomb

Israel and the Bomb

Israel and the Bomb

Israel and the Bomb

Excerpt

The seeds of this study were planted about a decade ago in a long theoretical article I wrote with Benjamin Frankel in 1987-88. In that article we elaborated on the term "nuclear opacity" as an explanatory ideal-type concept to account for the conduct of second-generation nuclear proliferators.SUPSUP SUPSUP By "nuclear opacity" we meant a situation in which the existence of a state's nuclear weapons has not been acknowledged by the state's leaders, but in which the evidence for the weapons' existence is strong enough to influence other nations' perceptions and actions. We argued that the term "nuclear opacity" captured more accurately the political reality of second-generation nuclear proliferators than other terms, such as "nuclear ambiguity," "covert proliferation," or "latent proliferation," then in use to describe the phenomenon.

In 1989 I was awarded a Research and Writing Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, entitled Israel's Invisible Bomb: Culture, Politics, and the Non-Proliferation Norm, to study domestic (that is, political, social, and cultural) dimensions, as well as regional and global policy aspects, of Israel's nuclear opacity. My initial research design did not provide a historical background, since I did not believe then that the pertinent documents would be available.

I joined the Center of International Studies at MIT as a visiting scholar in May 1990 and was preparing to begin the research when my plans changed as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the ensuing crisis and Gulf War, the establishment of the UN Special Commission on Iraq, and the renewed Middle East peace process. These developments, because of their bearing . . .

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