Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

Overview

In a vitally important book for anyone interested in nuclear proliferation, defense strategy, or international security, Matthew Kroenig points out that nearly every country with a nuclear weapons arsenal received substantial help at some point from a more advanced nuclear state. Why do some countries help others to develop nuclear weapons? Many analysts assume that nuclear transfers are driven by economic considerations. States in dire economic need, they suggest, export sensitive nuclear materials and ...

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Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons

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Overview

In a vitally important book for anyone interested in nuclear proliferation, defense strategy, or international security, Matthew Kroenig points out that nearly every country with a nuclear weapons arsenal received substantial help at some point from a more advanced nuclear state. Why do some countries help others to develop nuclear weapons? Many analysts assume that nuclear transfers are driven by economic considerations. States in dire economic need, they suggest, export sensitive nuclear materials and technology—and ignore the security risk—in a desperate search for hard currency.

Kroenig challenges this conventional wisdom. He finds that state decisions to provide sensitive nuclear assistance are the result of a coherent, strategic logic. The spread of nuclear weapons threatens powerful states more than it threatens weak states, and these differential effects of nuclear proliferation encourage countries to provide sensitive nuclear assistance under certain strategic conditions. Countries are more likely to export sensitive nuclear materials and technology when it would have the effect of constraining an enemy and less likely to do so when it would threaten themselves.

In Exporting the Bomb, Kroenig examines the most important historical cases, including France's nuclear assistance to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s; the Soviet Union's sensitive transfers to China from 1958 to 1960; China's nuclear aid to Pakistan in the 1980s; and Pakistan's recent technology transfers, with the help of "rogue" scientist A. Q. Khan, from 1987 to 2002. Understanding why states provide sensitive nuclear assistance not only adds to our knowledge of international politics but also aids in international efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Matthew Kroenig provides new and provocative insights into why some nations export sensitive nuclear technology andsome do not. His book is essential reading for those who wish to understand the new world of nuclear weapons that is now upon us."—Harold Smith, University of California, Berkeley, and former Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs)

"Exporting the Bomb is an important contribution to the literature on nuclear proliferation. Matthew Kroenig demonstrates in a compelling fashion that states rarely spread sensitive nuclear technology simply for economic benefit; nor do governments sell such technology in a fit of strategic absentmindedness. Instead, governments have exported sensitive technologies to enemies of their enemies. Exporting weapons-related technology is a continuation of global politics by other means."—Scott D. Sagan, Stanford University

"Exporting the Bomb treats the supply-side aspect of proliferation seriously, adding significantly to our understanding of the trade in nuclear technology. In a rare nonideological treatment of the subject, Matthew Kroenig supports his arguments with excellent research and uncommon case studies."—T. V. Paul, James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University

"Using both statistical analysis and in-depth examinations of particular cases, Matthew Kroenig provides a major extension of the realist theory of nuclear proliferation. According to Kroenig, states do not provide sensitive nuclear technology to others because they need the money—they provide it to further their strategic position and to take advantage of situations where proliferation would not affect their power very much.Kroenig's book is essential reading for all those seeking to understand how and why nuclear weapons spread and will pose an important challenge to those of us who believe that realist perspectives tell only part of that story."—Matthew Bunn, Harvard University

"Tackling an urgent but too often neglected real-world puzzle—why states help other states acquire nuclear weapons—Matthew Kroenig develops one of the most original and illuminating arguments about proliferation and deterrence in more than a decade. His startling claim that states provide nuclear weapons assistance primarily for power-politics reasons directly challenges the conventional economics explanations. Drawing expertly on both quantitative and qualitative evidence, the book brims with surprising—and sobering—findings. This masterful study is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the politics of nuclear proliferation today."—Nina Tannenwald, Brown University

"Matthew Kroenig has changed the way I think about nuclear proliferation. Exporting the Bomb demonstrates that proliferation is a function of foreign policy, as well as technology and security. Nuclear aspirants that receive help from nuclear-capable nations through the exchange of sensitive nuclear technology are much more likely to succeed in proliferating, something that has not received the attention it deserves until the publication of Matthew Kroenig's book."—Erik Gartzke, University of California, San Diego

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