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Scott Sagan Article Analysis & notes


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL208Y1
Professor
John Haines

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Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? : Three Models in Search of a Bomb
- By Scott D. Sagan
Having an answer to the question, why do states build nuclear weapons? Is crucial for
- predicting the long-term future of international security
- Current foreign policy efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Surprising how Little information has been focused to examining alternative answers because
- The answer to this proliferation puzzle is agreed upon by the U.S. policymakers and
most international relations scholars.
- It is that states will develop nuclear weapons when they face a military threat to their
security that cannot be met through alternative means; if they do not face such threats,
they will willingly remain non-nuclear states.
Central Purpose of this article
- Challenge this perception about nuclear proliferation.
- He says that view focusing on national security considerations as the cause of
proliferation
o Insufficient because nuclear weapons programs also serve other objectives.
Argument of Security put forward by ± states motive build weapons
- Explains cases of nuclear weapon proliferation by security interests only.
Nuclear Weapons - are more than tools; are objects of political importance in domestic debates
and internal bureaucratic; international normative symbols.
- He suggests 3 frameworks to build or refrain from developing nuclear weapons:
- "The Security Model," ; "The Domestic Politics Model," ; "The Norms Model,"
If his arguments correct,
- Sagan says that next to security aspects, domestic or norms factors can trigger military
nuclear proliferation and restrain.
o Thus only paying attention to the security issues is inadequate.
The Security Model
- His argument is that states build nuclear weapons to increase national security against foreign
threats, especially nuclear threats
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accordance with the tradition of Realism.
According to neorealist theory in political science,
- states exist in anarchical international system and thus
- Rely on self-help to protect their sovereignty and national security.
He says two policies - strong states and weak states
- 1) Strong states ± pursue a form of internal balancing by pursuing self-sufficient policies
to develop own nuclear weapons.
- 2) Weak states - join alliance with a nuclear power, and hope - provide prevention
guarantees.
o Some weak states have no options other than doing this.
This model, as an explanation for nuclear weapon proliferation, leads to an international system
- forces states to a policy of balance of power and status quo
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