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Strategy in the Contemporary World

Strategy in the Contemporary World (7th edn)

John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Jeannie L. Johnson
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date: 28 February 2024

p. 22313. The Control of Weapons of Mass Destructionlocked

p. 22313. The Control of Weapons of Mass Destructionlocked

  • John Baylis


This chapter explores a variety of questions on how to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). It begins with a discussion of the shift that took place during the cold war from disarmament to arms control, as well as the shift in relative importance that occurred in the early post-cold war era from arms control to more forcible means to tackle nuclear proliferation. It then considers the emergence of new ideas, first in the Clinton administration, and then in the Bush administration, that focused less on arms control and more on counterproliferation. It also examines a host of problems and dilemmas associated with counterproliferation, the Obama administration’s policy of engagement and ‘tough but direct diplomacy’, and the challenges presented by new geopolitical tensions. Finally, it reflects on future prospects for strategic nuclear arms control.

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