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Cover Strategy in the Contemporary World

13. The Control of Weapons of Mass Destruction  

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.


Cover International Relations Since 1945

16. The ‘Second’ Cold War, 1981–5  

This chapter focuses on the so-called ‘second’ Cold War spanning the years 1981–5. Ronald Reagan came to power on the back of a general rightwards shift in the political mood. He concentrated on a presentational role in government and pursued a simple foreign policy. He dismissed détente as a communist trick, was initially determined to resist the spread of the Soviet Union’s influence wherever it threatened and, going beyond that, wanted to carry the new Cold War into the Soviet camp. The chapter first considers US–Soviet relations during the new Cold War, paying attention to ‘Reaganomics’, before discussing the crisis in Poland in 1980–2. It then explores the issue of nuclear weapons control and the ‘Year of the Missile’ and concludes with an assessment of the war in Afghanistan up to 1985.