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Paperback The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed Book

ISBN: 0393977471

ISBN13: 9780393977479

The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Kenneth Waltz, Dean of Realist Theory in international relations at Columbia University, expands on his argument that "more may be better," contending that new nuclear states will use their acquired nuclear capabilities to deter threats and preserve peace. Scott Sagan, the leading proponent of organizational theories in international politics, continues to make the counterpoint that "more will be worse": novice nuclear states lack adequate organizational...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Essential read in international politics

This book is presented in an academic debate style. Waltz beings with a discussion of why the spread of nuclear weapons is not detremental to world peace. Sagan counters, after which both comment on the recent spread of nuclear weapons to both India and Pakistan. Both then write a conclusionary essay, essentially restating the arguments they made earlier. This is a wonderful book for people interested in this aspect of international politics. Sagan and Waltz both make deep arguments, peppered with numerous historical references and held together by a sound logical structure. Though this book is quite complex, neither author writes in an overly academic style, which allows for a wide potential audience. You'll read more here about the theoretical logic behind the threat of nuclear war than you will about, say, the technical makeup of nuclear weapons. My only complaint about this work is that Scott Sagan's responses to Waltz seem specifically devised to tear Waltz's argument apart, rather than constructing a logical arugment of his own. This book also includes quite a deal of repetition. After reading both author's take on the potentiality of an India-Pakistan conflict, one feels exasperated to see Waltz merely reiterate what he said earlier. However, this is still the best book of its kind on this subject, one that any serious student of foreign policy should pursue.


Book was in good condition. As for content, it was for a course, so what does it matter?

The best

Certainly the best debate ever produced about the existence of nuclear weapons and its distribution around the world. Highly recomended!

Simple debate, tremendous consequences

This books puts together two colliding authors on whether the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a good idea or not. Waltz, one fo the premier figures of realpolitik, argues (brilliantly, even though I disagree with him) that proliferation is a good idea. Sagan argues there are too many organizational risks in the proliferation system.The two present their arguments, and then respond to each other's argument. It is a fascinating argument, one that can be discussed in 1000 pages, but the authors do a tremendous job of synthesizing it and pointing out the major strenghts and weaknesses of each other's argument. In today's world, where we are willing to go to war to prevent proliferation, it is useful to take a step back and really understand what the main problems arising by proliferation are.

Perspectives in the Nuclear Debate

Is nuclear proliferation good? Does it increase stability? Or is it unstable, either because of accidents or misuse? Scott Sagan and Kenneth Waltz play out this debate in this book that looks at the nuclear question through organisational and realist perspectives. If you thought the answer to this debate was obvious, think again - this book will certainly leave you with a lot of questions.
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