The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices

More than half a century after the advent of the nuclear age, is the world approaching a tipping point that will unleash an epidemic of nuclear proliferation?Today many of the building blocks of a nuclear arsenal —scientific and engineering expertise, precision machine tools, software, design information —are more readily available than ever before. The nuclear pretensions of so-called rogue states and terrorist organizations are much discussed. But how firm is the resolve of those countries that historically have chosen to forswear nuclear weapons? A combination of changes in the international environment could set off a domino effect, with countries scrambling to develop nuclear weapons so as not to be left behind —or to develop nuclear "hedge" capacities that would allow them to build nuclear arsenals relatively quickly, if necessary.Th e Nuclear Tipping Point examines the factors, both domestic and transnational, that shape nuclear policy. The authors, distinguished scholars and foreign policy practitioners with extensive government experience, develop a framework for understanding why certain countries may originally have decided to renounce nuclear weapons —and pinpoint some more recent country-specific factors that could give them cause to reconsider. Case studies of eight long-term stalwarts of the nonproliferation regime —Egypt, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, and Taiwan —flesh out this framework and show how even these countries might be pushed over the edge of a nuclear tipping point.The authors offer prescriptions that would both prevent such countries from reconsidering their nuclear option and avert proliferation by others. The stakes are enormous and success is far from assured. To keep the tipping point beyond reach, the authors argue, the international community will have to act with unity, imagination, and strength, and Washington's leadership will be essential.Contributors include Leon Feurth, George Washington University; Ellen Laipson, Stimson Center; Thomas W. Lippman, Middle East Institute; Jenifer Mackby, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Derek J. Mitchell, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jonathan D. Pollack, U.S. Naval War College; Walter B. Slocombe, Caplin and Drysdale; and Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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About the author

Kurt M. Campbell is CEO and cofounder of the Center for a New American Security. He served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asia and the Pacific in the Clinton administration. Before that, he taught at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and served in the Navy. His books include Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security, written with Michael O'Hanlon (Basic Books, 2006). Robert J. Einhorn is senior adviser in the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former assistant secretary for noproliferation at the Department of State. Mitchell B. Reiss was director of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. Vartan Gregorian is president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Born in Tabriz, Iran of Armenian parents, he received his elementary education in Iran, secondary education in Lebanon, and higher education in the United States. He has served as president of Brown University, president of the New York Public Library, and founding dean and provost of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. President Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 1998.

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Publisher
Penn State Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2004
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Pages
367
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ISBN
9780815713319
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Security (National & International)
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This content is DRM protected.
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Robert D. Blackwill
 In light of China's deepening economic slowdown, "China's foreign policy may well be driven increasingly by the risk of domestic political instability," write Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and Kurt M. Campbell, the Asia Group's chairman and chief executive officer, in a new Council Special Report. "Economic growth and nationalism have for decades been the two founts of legitimacy for the Communist Party, and as the former wanes, [Chinese leader Xi Jinping] will likely rely increasingly on the latter."

Xi's "dominance of the decision-making process [has] made him a powerful but potentially exposed leader," the authors note. To protect his position, Xi will "most probably stimulate and intensify Chinese nationalism—long a pillar of the state's legitimacy—to compensate for the political harm of a slower economy, to distract the public, to halt rivals who might use nationalist criticisms against him, and to burnish his own image."

The report—Xi Jinping on the Global Stage: Chinese Foreign Policy Under a Powerful but Exposed Leader—notes that China's economy, which had expanded at an annual rate of 10 percent for three decades, is entering a new era of considerably slower growth.

To strengthen his position at home, Xi "will probably intensify his personality cult, crack down even harder on dissent, and grow bolder in using the anticorruption campaign against elites who oppose him." Internationally, Xi "may provoke disputes with neighbors, use increasingly strident rhetoric in defense of China's national interests, and take a tougher line in relations with the United States and its allies to shift public focus away from economic troubles."

To deal with Xi's more assertive foreign and defense policies, the authors call for a new American grand strategy for Asia that "seeks to avoid a U.S.-China confrontation and maintain U.S. primacy in Asia." 

The authors, both former senior government officials with extensive experience in the region, recommend passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership—an Asia-centered trade deal with countries that represent approximately 40 percent of the global economy—lifting constraints on U.S. exports of oil to Asian allies, and maintaining a commitment to deploy at least 60 percent of the U.S. Navy and Air Force in the Asia Pacific. 

They identify the U.S. pivot or rebalance to Asia as "the indispensable ingredient in a successful U.S. policy to participate and project strength more consequentially in the region and to deal with Chinese power and influence under Xi Jinping."

Kurt M. Campbell
New presidents have no honeymoon when it comes to foreign policy. Less than three months into his presidency, for example, John F. Kennedy authorized the disastrous effort to overthrow Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs. More recently, George W. Bush had been in office for less than eight months when he was faced with the attacks of September 11. How should an incoming president prepare for the foreign policy challenges that lie immediately ahead? That's the question Kurt Campbell and James Steinberg tackle in this compelling book. Drawing on their decades of government service—in the corridors of Capitol Hill, the intimate confines of the White House, the State Department, and the bare-knuckles Pentagon bureaucracy—Campbell and Steinberg identify the major foreign policy pitfalls that face a new presidential administration. They explain clearly and concisely what it takes to get foreign policy right from the start. The authors set the scene with a historical overview of presidential transitions and foreign policy including case studies of such prominent episodes as the "Black Hawk Down" tragedy in Somalia that shook the Clinton administration in its first year and the Bush administration's handling of the collision between a U.S. reconnaissance plane and a Chinese fighter jet in the spring of 2001. They pinpoint the leading causes of foreign policy fiascos, including the tendency to write off the policies of the outgoing administration and the failure to appreciate the differences between campaign promises and policy realities. Most important, they provide a road map to help the new administration steer clear of the land mines ahead. America's next president will confront critical foreign policy decisions from day one. Dif ficult Transitions provides essential guidance for getting those choices right.
Kurt M. Campbell
More than half a century after the advent of the nuclear age, is the world approaching a tipping point that will unleash an epidemic of nuclear proliferation? Today many of the building blocks of a nuclear arsenal—scientific and engineering expertise, precision machine tools, software, design information—are more readily available than ever before. The nuclear pretensions of so-called rogue states and terrorist organizations are much discussed. But how firm is the resolve of those countries that historically have chosen to forswear nuclear weapons? A combination of changes in the international environment could set off a domino effect, with countries scrambling to develop nuclear weapons so as not to be left behind—or to develop nuclear "hedge" capacities that would allow them to build nuclear arsenals relatively quickly, if necessary. Th e Nuclear Tipping Point examines the factors, both domestic and transnational, that shape nuclear policy. The authors, distinguished scholars and foreign policy practitioners with extensive government experience, develop a framework for understanding why certain countries may originally have decided to renounce nuclear weapons—and pinpoint some more recent country-specific factors that could give them cause to reconsider. Case studies of eight long-term stalwarts of the nonproliferation regime—Egypt, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, and Taiwan—flesh out this framework and show how even these countries might be pushed over the edge of a nuclear tipping point. The authors offer prescriptions that would both prevent such countries from reconsidering their nuclear option and avert proliferation by others. The stakes are enormous and success is far from assured. To keep the tipping point beyond reach, the authors argue, the international community will have to act with unity, imagination, and strength, and Washington's leadership will be essential. Contributors include Leon Feurth, George Washington University; Ellen Laipson, Stimson Center; Thomas W. Lippman, Middle East Institute; Jenifer Mackby, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Derek J. Mitchell, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jonathan D. Pollack, U.S. Naval War College; Walter B. Slocombe, Caplin and Drysdale; and Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Kurt M. Campbell
More than half a century after the advent of the nuclear age, is the world approaching a tipping point that will unleash an epidemic of nuclear proliferation? Today many of the building blocks of a nuclear arsenal—scientific and engineering expertise, precision machine tools, software, design information—are more readily available than ever before. The nuclear pretensions of so-called rogue states and terrorist organizations are much discussed. But how firm is the resolve of those countries that historically have chosen to forswear nuclear weapons? A combination of changes in the international environment could set off a domino effect, with countries scrambling to develop nuclear weapons so as not to be left behind—or to develop nuclear "hedge" capacities that would allow them to build nuclear arsenals relatively quickly, if necessary. Th e Nuclear Tipping Point examines the factors, both domestic and transnational, that shape nuclear policy. The authors, distinguished scholars and foreign policy practitioners with extensive government experience, develop a framework for understanding why certain countries may originally have decided to renounce nuclear weapons—and pinpoint some more recent country-specific factors that could give them cause to reconsider. Case studies of eight long-term stalwarts of the nonproliferation regime—Egypt, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Syria, Turkey, and Taiwan—flesh out this framework and show how even these countries might be pushed over the edge of a nuclear tipping point. The authors offer prescriptions that would both prevent such countries from reconsidering their nuclear option and avert proliferation by others. The stakes are enormous and success is far from assured. To keep the tipping point beyond reach, the authors argue, the international community will have to act with unity, imagination, and strength, and Washington's leadership will be essential. Contributors include Leon Feurth, George Washington University; Ellen Laipson, Stimson Center; Thomas W. Lippman, Middle East Institute; Jenifer Mackby, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Derek J. Mitchell, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jonathan D. Pollack, U.S. Naval War College; Walter B. Slocombe, Caplin and Drysdale; and Tsuyoshi Sunohara, Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Kurt M. Campbell
Global climate change poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well. Climatic Cataclysm gathers experts on climate science, oceanography, history, political science, foreign policy, and national security to take the measure of these risks. The contributors have developed three scenarios of what the future may hold. The expected scenario relies on current scientific models to project the effects of climate change over the next 30 years. The severe scenario, which posits a much stronger climate response to current levels of carbon loading, foresees profound and potentially destabilizing global effects over the next generation or more. Finally, the catastrophic scenario is characterized by a devastating "tipping point" in the climate system, perhaps 50 or 100 years hence. In this future world, the land-based polar ice sheets have disappeared, global sea levels have risen dramatically, and the existing natural order has been destroyed beyond repair. The contributors analyze the security implications of these scenarios, which at a minimum include increased disease proliferation; tensions caused by large-scale migration; and conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in Africa. They consider what we can learn from the experience of early civilizations confronted with natural disaster, and they ask what the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases—the United States, the European Union, and China—can do to reduce and manage future risks. In the coming decade, the United States faces an ominous set of foreign policy and national security challenges. Global climate change will not only complicate these tasks, but as this sobering study reveals, it may also create new challenges that dwarf those of today. Contributors include Leon Fuerth (George Washington University), Jay Gulledge (Pew Center on Global Climate Change), Alexander T. J. Lennon (Center for Strategic and International Studies), J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University), Derek Mix (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Peter Ogden (Center for American Progress), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Julianne Smith (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute), and R. James Woolsey (Booz Allen Hamilton).
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