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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

This chapter examines the role played by nuclear weapons in international politics during and after the cold war, making a distinction between the First Nuclear Age and the ongoing Second Nuclear Age. After providing a background on the First Nuclear Age, the chapter considers the various risks present in the Second Nuclear Age, focusing on issues related to nuclear deterrence, nuclear proliferation networks, strategic culture, and ballistic missile defences. It then discusses the assumption that arms control and disarmament treaties are the best means to further counterproliferation efforts. It also assesses the future of nuclear weapons and whether the world is facing a Third Nuclear Age before concluding with an analysis of the relevance of deterrence in the face of changing political and technological circumstances.

Chapter

Leslie Elliott Armijo

This chapter examines Brazil’s emergence as a global power, with a particular focus on how the country has striven to play a bigger role on the international scene. It first provides a brief historical background on Brazil before discussing contemporary Brazilian foreign policy — especially its leaders’ vision of the country as a consequential global player in an increasingly multipolar world. This is seen through the active campaigning for continental integration in which Brazil has played an important role by means of several initiatives. The chapter explores Brazilian foreign policy initiatives in four global issue arenas: trade, climate, financial governance, and nuclear proliferation. It concludes with the suggestion that in terms of material power resources and influence, Brazil was not a global power in the twentieth century, even as it notes the country’s aspiration to become a major international player in the early twenty-first century.

Chapter

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.