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The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed
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The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Kenneth Waltz, Dean of Realist Theory in international relations at Columbia University, expands on his argument that "more may be better," contending that new nuclear states will use their acquired nuclear capabilities to deter threats and preserve peace. Scott Sagan, the leading proponent of organizational theories in international politics, continues to make the counter ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 240 pages
Published August 28th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1995)
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Daniel Clausen
Jun 09, 2015 Daniel Clausen rated it really liked it
This is an important book and a great teaching tool for undergraduate classes.

Sagan and Waltz present two opposing views on nuclear weapons. Waltz suggests that the slow spread of nuclear weapons is better than either the rapid spread of nuclear weapons or no spread. Nuclear weapons, he suggests, help stabilize conflicts by creating clarity between conflicting states (each understands the end result of a nuclear attack) and make states risk adverse. Waltz’s analysis, however, is based on ration
Grayson Cooper
Jul 15, 2017 Grayson Cooper rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It is a remarkably interesting debate that challenges ideas of politics, people, and humankind.
Jun 27, 2011 Hiro rated it it was amazing
The book 'The Spread of Nuclear Weapons' presents two sides of the debate on whether the spread of nuclear weapons to more and more countries is better or worse in terms of a nuclear weapon going off somewhere in the world. Kenneth Waltz argues that the spread will lead to nuclear stability, and Scott Sagan argues the opposite. Waltz makes use of realist theory, which basically says that logically any leader of a country that has a nuclear weapon will have every incentive to have total control o ...more
Dec 06, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Interesting book that spawned some of my doctoral research.

One question: In this book, Waltz assumes that security is abundant (e.g. that countries will be satisfied with the existential deterrent provided by nuclear weapons). This claim directly contradicts his assertion in Theory of International Politics that anarchy in the intl. system makes security scarce (and hence creates the impetus for states to seek security, the driver of events in his theory). So which is it?
Joel Blunt
May 13, 2013 Joel Blunt rated it it was amazing
Great book between two great thinkers. However, I find myself overwhelmingly siding with Sagan. I believe Sagan's points on organization control of weapons are highly insightful, especially considering the current state of Pakistan's politics. Additionally, this book gives one a reason to be highly concerned over Iranian and North Korean weapon's programs.
Waltz and Sagan take opposites sides on the debate over nuclear weapons. Waltz argues that more weapons is a good thing, since deterrence works, and the more states that go nuclear, the more likely deterrence will prevent conflict. Sagan argues that proliferation (vertical and horizontal) will create more danger, due to terrorists, accidents, misconceptions, and military organizational culture.
Jul 15, 2008 Clare rated it really liked it
I know it's nerdy to list this hear, but this is the clearest, easiest-to-read argument over nucs. Both the pro and con sides are well-argued; it helped me understand why people might be for a nuclear weapon world... Though, ultimately, it didn't change my mind.
Adam Farooqui
Aug 06, 2007 Adam Farooqui rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: political scientists, political commentators, international relations geeks
Shelves: classics
A brilliant classic on foreign policy suggestions for an increasingly nuclear world. The world will probably have more countries achieve nuclear technology, already 60 years old, around the same age as your microwave.

Would love to chat about it anytime.
Rehan Zar
a good 1
Josh McLemore
Nov 26, 2007 Josh McLemore rated it it was amazing
Love this book! Provides both sides of the debate on nuclear proliferation. Waltz helps provide a foundation for anyone arguing for horizontal proliferation
Aniruddh Mohan
Jun 26, 2014 Aniruddh Mohan rated it liked it
A must read for anyone wanting to study nuclear weapons policies and understand the possible consequences of nuclear proliferation.
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