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IR 3.12.docx

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Political Science
Kelly Greenhill

IR 3.12 Security II—WMD and Proliferation WMD- weapons of mass destruction (≠ “WMD”) • three kinds: nuclear, chemical, biological (plus radiological in some camps) • kill numerous people indiscriminately • capable of a “high order of destruction” • rarely used in interstate war, but… o Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945-nuclear) o WWI and Iran/Iraq war (chemical o possibly, but unproven 1991 Gulf War (biological) • WMD unique significance derives principally not from their use but from the threat thereof • biological tends to not be weapon of choice: contagious, backfire, can’t be controlled; difficult to deliver • nuclear weapons- uniquely horrifying (see many specific nuke-only agreements, fear of radiation • biological weapons- potentially deadly and inherently indiscriminate; again, triggers international horror • chemical weapons- little worse than conventional weapons (if at all) but images and causalities create horror (even Hitler refuses to use gas in war after being gassed himself) • not “WMD”- conventional (cluster bombs, MOAB, fuel-air explosives,AK-47) or unconventional but not horrific (e-bomb) • tough cases- borderline chemical weapons (white phosphorus, napalm), radiological weapons (“dirty bombs,” depleted uranium) Why do states seek nuclear weapons? • early nuclear adopters; all under Non-Proliferation Treaty o US (& Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) 1945 o USSR Russia 1949 o UK 1952 o France 1962 o China 1964 • subsequent proliferation o since mid-1960s, other states have acquired and tested nuclear weapons (India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea)  capable delivery systems also necessary o some states developed “latent nuclear weapons capabilities” but then stopped their programs (Sweden and Brazil) o several states have given up their weapons (SouthAfrica and Ukraine) o other states may be in the process of trying to acquire them (Iran) • uses/function: deterrence, battlefield/warfighting, bargaining tool, prestige/status • costs: opportunity costs; arm-racing, heightened hostility; international opprobrium Sources of (and Constraints on ) Proliferation (Scott Sagan) Model Impetus Restraint Implications re: Examples counter- proliferation Security Threat Threat disappears Need security Russia and US guarantees (Cold War) Domestic Parochial interests Internal political Tools are few; can India politics shifts try aid, epistemic
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