By Andrew Carpenter and Ulrika Grufman
(For more information on this feature, see here.)
And this week’s in the weeds conceptual/theoretical articles on nuclear weapons and related issues include…
Attacking the Atom: Does Bombing Nuclear Facilities Affect Proliferation?
Kreps, S. & Fuhrman, M., 2011. Attacking the Atom: Does Bombing Nuclear Facilities Affect Proliferation? Journal of Strategic Studies. April 2011.
“The findings indicate that strikes are neither as uniformly fruitless as the sceptics would suggest, nor as productive as advocates have claimed.” (2011, p. 61)
Sarah Kreps and Matthew Fuhrman explore the effectiveness of military action against nuclear facilities. They find that the military option is not always ineffective, but also has significant limitations. Whether an attack is undertaken during peacetime or wartime had a significant effect on the success of the action. Military actions taken during wartime showed less success than those taken during peacetime. A difficult situation occurs because the most effective time to conduct a military strike is when the program is in its earliest stages, the time that such strikes are most incompatible with international law. The authors conclude that a more careful examination of previous military strikes is required, but that in the future the military option should not be completely discounted, nor thought of as a sure fire solution.
The Causes of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
Sagan, S., 2011. The Causes of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation. Annual Review of Political Science. March 2011.
“We need more interdisciplinary research on the technical bottlenecks and legal restrictions on the spread of nuclear facilities.” (2011, p. 141).
Scott Sagan conducts a thorough research of recent scholarly work in the field of non-proliferation. His goal is to determine the validity of the work being conducted, and areas that need more study. Sagan highlights both the supply side of proliferation and demand side. The supply side looks at the transition from nuclear power program to a nuclear weapons program. The demand side looks at why states would want to pursue a nuclear weapon. Sagan finds that one of the new areas that is being looked at is the leadership of countries trying to pursue nuclear weapons. Sagan finds that more works needs to be done in examining the connection between regime types and proliferation, the connection between nuclear programs and nuclear weapons proliferation, and how the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty influences nuclear proliferation.
Disarmament and Non-proliferation: Towards More Realistic Bargains
Ogilvie-White, O. & Santoro, D., 2011. Disarmament and Non-proliferation: Towards More Realistic Bargains. Survival. 53:3, June-July 2011. pp.101-118.
“The obvious problem is that even when the will to implement disarmament and non-proliferation efforts exists, regional security challenges and priorities sap momentum and prevent progress. Progress towards a nuclear-weapon-free world will only be possible if active work to overcome these hurdles is conducted in parallel with the negotiation of fair and equitable bargains between the nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states, in a mutually reinforcing process.” (pp.113-114)
Tanya Ogilvie-White and David Santoro set out to show how small successfully implemented bargains, rather than big unrealistic goals, can make the path to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation easier. The authors show that the early ambitious rhetoric on nuclear disarmament by the Obama Administration has not been realised, and as such, it has created problems for further progress. They argue that the Administration should instead find and implement smaller achievements which can be used in negotiations on non-proliferation with non-nuclear countries. The problem, as the authors portray it, is that many non-nuclear countries think that the nuclear weapons states are not doing enough. The authors conclude by quoting Kissinger et al. (i.e. the Four Horsemen), and saying that nuclear disarmament does not alone lead to a nuclear weapon free world. Many additional factors, such as regional security challenges, need to be addressed before that goal can be achieved.