NO END IN SIGHT: The Continuing Menace of Nuclear Proliferation

By Sherrill, Clifton W. | Military Review, July/August 2005 | Go to article overview

NO END IN SIGHT: The Continuing Menace of Nuclear Proliferation


Sherrill, Clifton W., Military Review


NO END IN SIGHT: The Continuing Menace of Nuclear Proliferation, Nathan E. Busch, The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, 2004, 490 pages, $40.00.

No End in Sight: The Continuing Menace of Nuclear Proliferation addresses the theoretical debate over whether nuclear weapons proliferation enhances or diminishes international stability. Some rational-choice theorists (proliferation optimists) argue that proliferation helps deter major war by creating a threat of nuclear escalation, making the potential costs of war higher than the projected gains. These theorists argue that because nuclear weapons are so valuable, regimes will be motivated to ensure nuclear security and safety.

Competing theorists (proliferation pessimists) reject the rational-choice model in whole or argue that safety and security concerns surrounding proliferation outweigh deterrent benefits. Nathan E. Busch looks at the record of several current and potential nuclear states to assess their command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) functions and their discipline in fissile material protection, control, and accounting (MPC&A) to see which position is better supported.

Busch has meticulously documented case studies (there are 97 pages of endnotes); however, the sensitive nature of the information results in a lack of comprehensive data regarding C3I for cases other than those in the United States. Likewise, the top-secret nature of nuclear weapons programs, particularly clandestine efforts, makes it impossible to thoroughly evaluate MPC&A. …

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