In India’s Nuclear Bomb, George Perkovich offers four “exploded illusions” of the nuclear age: 1. Security concerns decisively determine proliferation, 2. Nonproliferation is the flip-side of the proliferation coin, 3. Democracy facilitates nonproliferation, and 4.Equitable disarmament in unnecessary for nonproliferation.

In the concluding chapter, he “explores how India’ nuclear history suggests four alternative propositions to the illusions just listed. Namely,

1. Domestic factors, including individual personalities, have been at least as important as the external security environment in determining Indian nuclear policy and that of other states.

2. Proliferation is an essentially different process from “unproliferation” – a state’s decision to stop and/or reverse acquisition of nuclear weapon capabilities. In democracies especially, the acquisition of nuclear weapons so changes the politics within the state that removal of the original proliferation stimuli is not sufficient to cause unproliferation.

3. Open, democratic debate may inhibit decisions to make nuclear weapons, but democracy as it is practiced today appears to obstruct efforts to control and eliminate nuclear weapons once they have been acquired.

4. If reversing the spread of nuclear weapons is an important goal and the promotion of democracy is desirable, then averting the potential clash between these two objectives requires clearer commitments to eliminating nuclear weapons from all states.”

What’s your take?


Image: Athit Perawongmetha-Getty Images News, Getty

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