Books of Note
Combating Proliferation: Strategic Intelligence and Security Policy
By Jason D. Ellis and Geoffrey D. Kieffer, Johns Hopkins University Press, September 2004, 320 pp.
Jason Ellis and Geoffrey Kieffer take a critical look at the collection and analysis of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation intelligence in an effort to determine how it can be used more effectively to serve nonproliferation goals. Examining a broad range of recent case studies from the invasion of Iraq to North Korea’s nuclear posturing to Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons to Russia’s transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Ellis and Kieffer conclude that intelligence often conforms to political agendas, not the other way around. Citing the difficulties inherent in intelligence collection and analysis relating to WMD proliferation, they warn against the current administration’s policy shift from nonproliferation to counterproliferation, which presents problematic operational challenges with its focus on preemptive military action.
Neither Star Wars nor Sanctuary: Constraining the Military Uses of Space
By Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution Press, April 2004, 120 pp.
Michael E. O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, presents a logical case against weaponizing space, saying that current efforts to pursue the ultimate military high ground are contrary to the U.S. security interests. The United States, with military space budgets of around $20 billion a year, currently enjoys the advantage, using its satellites to provide strategic communication, early warning of missile launches, location of strike targets on the battlefield, and arms control verification. Pursuing a policy of space weaponization solely in order to maximize its own military capabilities would needlessly jeopardize nonproliferation efforts by creating an arms race and would only reaffirm the prevalent international image of the United States as a global cowboy. He says, however, that he is not in favor of permanently ruling out space weaponization.
Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
By Graham Allison, Times Books, August 2004, 272 pp.
If decision-makers in Washington keep doing what they are doing, it is only a matter of time before the United States is hit with a nuclear terrorist attack, says Graham Allison in his new book. The unexpected good news, however, is that a nuclear attack is preventable, and Allison offers an ambitious but feasible plan of how to achieve this. The key, he says, is control of fissile materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium, without which a bomb cannot be built. “No fissile material, no nuclear explosion, no nuclear terrorism. It is that simple,” writes Allison, who is founding dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a former assistant secretary of defense for policy and plans.
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