Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Handbook of Nuclear Proliferation

1st Edition

Edited by Harsh V Pant


356 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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There was an expectation that the end of the Cold War would herald a new era of peace and stability in which the importance of nuclear weapons was marginalized. Instead, we have been left with a fractious, inter-dependent international community rife with ethnic and religious tension and unbound by super-power competition. The challenges of climate change, demographic shifts and resource competition have further altered the security environment. As if this were not enough, nuclear proliferation is once again at the top of the international agenda. In the last decade the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been challenged from within by Iraq, Iran and Libya while India’s, Pakistan’s and North Korea's nuclear weapon capabilities are threatening the non-proliferation norm from without. The new proliferators are predominantly, but not exclusively, aggressive, unstable and authoritarian regimes, considered by many in the international community to be outside the constraints of international normative behaviour. Some have even been labelled `outlaw’, or `rogue’ states. Although inter-continental nuclear war is not presently considered a danger, the increased number of nuclear weapons states combined with the nature of those states and the strategic environment in which they exist makes the possibility of a lesser nuclear exchange potentially much greater. In parallel, the 9/11 atrocities raised fears of the prospect of apocalyptic terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons. Indications that the NPT is failing to rise to the challenge have resulted in policy decisions that have arguably reversed both the disarmament and non-proliferation norms.

This volume delves deep into the changing global nuclear landscape. The chapters document the increasing complexity of the global nuclear proliferation dynamic and the inability of the international community to come to terms with a rapidly changing strategic milieu. The future, in all likelihood, will be very different from the past, and the chapters in this volume develop a framework that may helps gain a better understanding of the forces that will shape the nuclear proliferation debate in the years to come.

Part I examines the major thematic issues underlying the contemporary discourse on nuclear proliferation.

Part II gives an overview of the evolving nuclear policies of the five established nuclear powers: the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China.

Part III looks at the three de facto nuclear states: India, Pakistan and Israel.

Part IV examines two `problem states' in the proliferation matrix today: Iran and North Korea.

Part V sheds light on an important issue often ignored during discussions of nuclear proliferation – cases where states have made a deliberate policy choice of either renouncing their nuclear weapons programme, or have decided to remain a threshold state. The cases of South Africa, Egypt and Japan will be the focus of this section.

The final section, Part VI, will examine the present state of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, which most observers agree is currently facing a crisis of credibility. The three pillars of this regime – the NPT, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty – will be analyzed.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Part I

    Thematic Issues

  3. Nuclear Deterrence: Enduring Relevance but Growing Need For Re-Evaluation
  4. Chris Hobbs and Matthew Harries

  5. Nuclear Energy and Proliferation: Potent Mix
  6. Henry Sokolski

  7. Non-Proliferation and Counter-Proliferation: Necessary, Complementary and Often Interchangeable Concepts
  8. Mark Fitzpatrick

  9. Nuclear Weapons and Non-State Actors: The Evolving Threat of Nuclear Terrorism
  10. Paul Wilkinson

  11. The Nuclear Taboo
  12. Nina Tannenwald

    Part II

    The Five Nuclear Powers

  13. The United States: Setting the Stage for Disarmament
  14. James J. Wirtz

  15. Russia: Arms Control, Deterrence, and Proliferation in Contemporary Russian Thinking
  16. Stephen Blank

  17. The United Kingdom: A Conflicted Nuclear Weapon State
  18. Paul Ingram and Michael Collins

  19. France: A Non-Exceptional Nuclear Policy
  20. Corentin Brustlein

  21. China: A Deterrence Paradox
  22. Jonathan Holslag

    Part III

    De-Factor Nuclear States

  23. India: The (Accepted) Gatecrasher
  24. Chris Ogden

  25. Pakistan: The Politics of Nuclear Force Building
  26. Bhumitra Chakma

  27. Israel: Origins and Implications of Nuclear Ambiguity
  28. Arielle Kandel

    Part IV

    The ‘Problem’ States

  29. Iran: From Power Generation to Weapons Proliferation?
  30. Anoush Ehteshami

  31. North Korea: An Isolationist Nuclear State
  32. Balbina Hwang

    Part V

    The ‘Threshold’ States

  33. South Africa: Disarmament Trendsetter
  34. Stephen Burgess

  35. Japan: Between Pacifism and Pragmatism
  36. Takenori Horimoto

  37. Egypt: Flirtations, Frustration and Future Uncertainty Maria Rost Rublee
  38. Part VI

    The Global Non-Proliferation Regime

  39. The Non-Proliferation Treaty
  40. Mark Hilborne

  41. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Foundations, Context, and Outlook
  42. Dean Knox

  43. A Cut-Off of Production of Weapon-Usable Fissionable Material: Considerations, Requirements, and IAEA Capabilities
  44. Tariq Rauf

  45. Trends in Missile Defense and Space Security: Challenging Non-Proliferation Priorities
  46. Bharath Gopalaswamy

  47. The US-India Nuclear Deal: Great Power Politics Versus Non-Proliferation
  48. Harsh V. Pant

  49. Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Proliferation: A Complicated Relationship
  50. Tom Sauer

  51. The Future: A Cautious Prognosis

Malcolm Davis



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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
REFERENCE / Handbooks & Manuals