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Cover International Relations Theories

12. Postcolonialism  

Shampa Biswas

This chapter examines postcolonial approaches to International Relations (IR) and their foregrounding of the history and politics of colonialism in the making of the modern world. It first considers the concerns, issues, and preoccupations highlighted by postcolonial theory, along with some of the central debates that have shaped its intellectual terrain, and the normative and political commitments that distinguish it from other related fields such as Marxism and poststructuralism. It then discusses the relevance of postcolonialism to the study of international relations and proposes three different ways of engaging with the insights of postcolonial theory within IR that open up new questions, alternative methodologies, and a range of possibilities for narrating a postcolonial IR. Finally, it analyses international concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons programme from a postcolonial perspective.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

30. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction  

Sheena Chestnut Greitens

This chapter focuses on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It examines the patterns that can be observed in the spread and use/non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons since 1945, how nuclear weapons have changed world politics, and whether non-proliferation efforts have been successful. The chapter first provides an overview of WMD technology and its spread before discussing biological and chemical weapons. It then considers theoretical debates about nuclear proliferation and the evolution of non-proliferation efforts. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the nuclear programme of North Korea and the other looking at the nuclear programme in Iran.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

29. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction  

Sheena Chestnut Greitens

This chapter focuses on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It examines the patterns that can be observed in the spread and use/non-use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons since 1945, how nuclear weapons have changed world politics, and whether non-proliferation efforts have been successful. The chapter first provides an overview of WMD technology and its spread before discussing biological and chemical weapons. It then considers theoretical debates about nuclear proliferation and the evolution of non-proliferation efforts. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the other with the nuclear programmes of North Korea and Iran. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the use of chemical weapons in 2013 should have been a red line triggering international intervention in Syria.

Chapter

Cover International Relations of the Middle East

4. The Middle East Since the Cold War: Movement without Progress  

Bahgat Korany

This chapter focuses on the Middle East during the post-Cold-War era. It introduces some the key themes that have come to dominate contemporary international relations of the Middle East: oil; new and old conflicts; the impacts of globalization; and religio-politics. In considering the major security patterns and trends in the Middle East, one finds a number of enduring issues, such as the Arab–Israeli conflict and border disputes. At the same time, one can see elements of change, both within these conflicts and with the emergence of recent threats, such as Iranian nuclearization, with profound consequences for regional alliance structures. As old and new security issues mingle in the geopolitical order, events of the past few years reflect a region dominated by conflict clusters. It is no surprise then that the Middle East remains a highly militarized region.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

15. The Return to Confrontation, 1979–80  

This chapter examines why the United States and the Soviet Union returned to confrontation during the period 1979–80. Despite the slow progress of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), there were at least some efforts to control strategic weapons. Short-range and intermediate-range nuclear weapons, in contrast, continued to grow in number and sophistication, particularly in Europe, where NATO and Warsaw Pact forces still prepared for war against each other, despite détente. The failure to control theatre nuclear weapons led to a new twist in the European arms race at the end of the 1970s which helped to undermine recent improvements in East–West relations. The chapter first considers NATO’s ‘dual-track’ decision regarding theatre nuclear weapons, before discussing the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. It concludes with an assessment of the revival of the Cold War, focusing on the so-called Carter Doctrine.