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Common Sense on Weapons of Mass Destruction

Thomas Graham Jr.

Publication Year: 2004

In a straightforward and comprehensible style, Graham concisely provides the background necessary to understand the news and opinions surrounding WMDs, with accessible, up-to-date facts on nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, chemical and biological weapons, land mines and small arms, missile defense and WMDs in outer space, and WMDs in the Middle East and Asia.

Published by: University of Washington Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

I commend ambassador graham for writing this much-needed book. Nuclear weapons in the hands of “rogue” states or terrorist organizations represent the principal security threat to the United States and to the world community today. The aftermath of the Cold War has in many ways left us less secure, given the large numbers of unnecessary and dangerous...

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pp. 3-8

Every four years, the Chicago council on Foreign Relations conducts a public survey of American attitudes toward foreign policy issues, a poll considered to be the most authoritative on this subject. In the poll released in 2000, Americans identified nuclear weapon proliferation (the spread of nuclear weapons to countries that don’t presently have them) as...

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1. The Problems of Our Time: Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear Terrorism

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pp. 9-19

Disarmament and arms control are not new. In 1139, at the Second Lateran Council, Pope Innocent II outlawed the crossbow, declaring it to be “hateful to God and unfit for Christians.” The crossbow was later overtaken in effectiveness by the English longbow. The crossbow and the longbow were then eclipsed by the destructive firepower of the cannon. The Church also banned the rifle when it appeared...

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2. The Effects of Nuclear Weapons

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pp. 20-29

In his Pulitzer Prize – winning book The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986), Richard Rhodes describes the evolution of the science of nuclear physics that led in less than fifty years to the atomic bomb. He also describes the actual effects of using an atomic bomb. The account of the attack on Hiroshima quoted, summarized, and paraphrased below is found in Chapter...

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3. An Overview of International Law and Arms Control

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pp. 30-49

In the end, it is the rule of law that distinguishes civilization from barbarism. It has taken thousands of years for humankind to develop into a community of civilized states, the majority of which are governed by law. Governments were formed in ancient times to provide security and an opportunity for economic development. Gradually the concept of the supremacy of law over the government and society began to...

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4. The Cornerstone of Security: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

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pp. 50-62

In a Foreign Affairs article several years ago, Jonathan Schell argued that the solutions to some political problems lie “outside the bounds of contemporary political acceptability”; that sometimes the right approach seems politically untenable, and, as a result, we choose instead an ostensibly more attractive middle course (“The Folly of Arms Control,” September–...

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5. The Political Value of Nuclear Weapons

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pp. 63-73

In the early years of the cold war, NATO was composed of countries seriously weakened—in some cases, virtually destroyed—as a result of World War II, who were confronted across the inner German divide (the line between NATO-governed West Germany and Soviet-controlled East Germany) by massively superior Soviet and Warsaw Pact conventional...

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6. Stopping Nuclear Explosions: The Test Ban

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pp. 74-85

From the earliest of times, after the completion of the negotiation of the NPT in 1968, the NPT nonnuclear weapon states emphasized that the number one quid for their quo of renouncing nuclear weapons was an end to nuclear weapon tests—that is, a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. This has been reiterated at every NPT review conference since, and was an express condition of the indefinite extension of the...

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7. Missile Defense

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pp. 86-98

Today’s national missile defense policy is part of an increasing trend in the United States in the early years of the twenty-first century toward a unilateralist “go it alone” approach to national security. Our policy seems to reflect nostalgia for a bygone era in which the United States was insulated against threats to its national security by expansive oceans to the east and west and friendly neighbors to the north...

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8. Outer Space

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pp. 99-108

December 1, 2003, marked the forty-fourth anniversary of the signing of the first arms control agreement of the modern era, the Antarctic Treaty, which preserved the continent as a nonmilitarized, nuclear-weapon-free area. The debate that preceded the negotiation of that treaty is remarkably similar to contemporary discussion on the future of outer space. In the early to mid-1950s, there were approximately a...

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9. Cleaning Up After Past Wars: Land Mines and Small Arms

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pp. 109-116

The cold war presented the world with a litany of potential disasters, cost trillions of dollars in precious national resources, and left much danger and potential destruction in its wake, including vast arsenals of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and related materials. The antipersonnel land mines and countless small arms left behind also pose an increasing threat to humanity. An estimated 100 million antipersonnel land mines...

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10. Poison Gas and Microbes: Chemical and Biological Weapons

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pp. 117-124

In 1899, at the invitation of Czar Nicholas II of Russia, an international peace conference was convened at The Hague in the Netherlands. The purpose of the conference was to limit the ever-growing destructive power of weapons of war. This conference concluded with a declaration which, among other things, outlawed the use of asphyxiating gas in warfare. A follow-on conference held at The Hague in 1907 prohibited...

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11. Controlling Nuclear Materials: The Situation in Russia

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pp. 125-132

Despite the end of the cold war, nuclear weapons still pose a devastating threat to the United States and to the world community. The risk of thermonuclear war between the two superpowers has faded, but has been replaced by a much higher risk that a major city or several major cities could be destroyed by stealth by a rogue state or a terrorist organization. The vast oversupply of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive...

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12. Regional Issues: Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East and Nuclear Weapons in South and Northeast Asia

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pp. 133-144

Weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, represent a worldwide problem, but three areas pose particular risks: the Middle East, South Asia, and Northeast Asia. The political situation in the Middle East has been dominated for more than half a century by the conflict between the State of Israel and its surrounding Arab neighbors—particularly the Palestinians, who were displaced from their homes during the war...

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13. America’s Role

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pp. 145-151

In addressing the threats of today’s world, the United States has before it essentially two lines of approach. One path relies primarily on unilateral diplomatic pressure and, when necessary, preemptive military assault, in some cases without regard to existing treaty obligations or accepted international rules of behavior. Everyone agrees that there are some cases where such a policy is appropriate, such as the military action against...

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pp. 152-154

The united states is the strongest country in the world today, and the most significant to the ultimate success of arms control and nonproliferation. The American public usually supports arms control and the international rule of law (for example, a strong majority favor ratification of the CTBT), but, as stated in the Introduction, apparently the public does not consider these issues sufficiently important to...

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pp. 155-157

In combating the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and the grave danger that these weapons may be acquired by international terrorist organizations (as well as by rogue states), it has been argued in these pages that military force is not the primary means whereby these threats can be successfully addressed. Rather, to be effective, the response of the civilized world to the...

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pp. 158-159

President John F. Kennedy once said, and I paraphrase, “Success has many fathers; defeat is an orphan.” Hopefully, this book will be a success, but in any case, it has many fathers and mothers. The idea for this book first arose in the aftermath of a speech I gave at the Seattle Civic Forum in the spring of 2003. As I was leaving, I stopped briefly at the table where my previous books...

Appendix 1: Global Nuclear Status

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pp. 160-161

Appendix 2: Global Nuclear Stockpiles

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pp. 162-164

Appendix 3: Weapon Development Milestones

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pp. 165-168


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pp. 169-176


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pp. 177-194


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pp. 195-206

E-ISBN-13: 9780295802091
E-ISBN-10: 029580307X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295984667
Print-ISBN-10: 029598466X

Publication Year: 2004