U. S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today's Threats

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What role should nuclear weapons play in today's world? How can the United States promote international security while safeguarding its own interests? U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy informs this debate with an analysis of current nuclear weapons policies and strategies, including those for deterring, preventing, or preempting nuclear attack; preventing further proliferation, to nations and terrorists; modifying weapons designs; and revising the U.S. nuclear posture.

Presidents Bush and Clinton made major changes in U.S. policy after the Cold War, and George W. Bush's administration made further, more radical changes after 9/11. Leaked portions of 2001's Nuclear Posture Review, for example, described more aggressive possible uses for nuclear weapons. This important volume examines the significance of such changes and suggests a way forward for U.S. policy, emphasizing stronger security of nuclear weapons and materials, international compliance with nonproliferation obligations, attention to the demand side of proliferation, and reduced reliance on nuclear weapons in U.S. foreign policy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A must read for anyone concerned with the risks of nuclear proliferation, biological and chemical threats, and how to counter them." —General Wesley K. Clark, U.S. Army (Ret.)

"This valuable book delivers more than what the title might suggest, as the scope of the book extends well beyond a narrow assessment of U.S. nuclear policy to a broader assessment of how that approach affects the nuclear nonproliferation regime and the overall state of the regime itself." —Barclay Ward, Arms Control Today, 3/1/2007

"a coherent, well-argued volume on nuclear policy...recommended." — CHOICE, 5/1/2007

"Help: We need to think clearly and urgently about the nuclear threat. This book offers valuable focus on the issue." —George Shultz, Hoover Institution and former U.S. Secretary of State

"A superbly comprehensive assessment of present and future U.S. nuclear weapons policy in the age of terrorism, this book updates thinking in a critical area of national security strategy." —Major General William F. Burns, U.S. Army (Ret.) and former director of U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

"Remarkable for the authors' breadth and depth of experience, the timeliness and importance of the subject, and the willingness to provide near-term solutions that neither revere nor reject the past. An authoritative, insightful, and constructive book." —Richard L. Garwin, IBM Research Center, and member of the President's Science Advisory Committee

"Anyone concerned about the gravest danger humanity faces ought to read this book. Written and edited by some of the most thoughtful and experienced people in the field, it vividly describes our present predicaments and offers alternatives, backed by solid analysis, to current administration nuclear weapons policies." —James E. Goodby, Carnegie Mellon University and former chief negotiator, U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815713654
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

George Bunn is a consulting professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation. He helped negotiate the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in the 1960s, has served as Ambassador to the Geneva Disarmament Conference. Christopher F. Chyba is a professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he directs the Program on Science and Global Security. He is a former codirector of CISAC and has served with the NSC staff and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. William J. Perry is codirector of the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford and Harvard, and was the nineteenth U.S. Secretary of Defense (1994-97). He is coauthor (with Ashton B. Carter) of Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America (Brookings, 1999).

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