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Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Search for Global Security

Joseph M. Siracusa and Aiden Warren

Whether possessed by a state or non-state actor, the specter of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), and more specifically, nuclear weapons and their associated material, present a significant threat to global security. Notwithstanding the fact that there are fewer nuclear weapons today than the massive stockpiles that existed during the height of the Cold War, the complexities relating to nuclear security have in many ways intensified amid globalization and porous borders. More states in volatile regions possess such weapons, UN Security Council states are busily modernizing their weapons, and non-states actors have made it clear their intention to use such weapons should they attain them. The emerging prospect of a cyber-attack, or a misunderstanding that could potentially evolve into a limited regional nuclear war, would both have dire global ramifications and are scenarios that should not be considered farfetched. Additionally, concerns pertaining to chemical and biological weapons, the associated ramifications relating to nuclear terrorism, and broader limitations of the NPT regime, all pose major challenges to global stability. In considering all of these areas, this foundational primer for the Rowman and Littlefield WMD Series seeks to inform and advance policy debate in ways that support international security, while also adding important connective tissue between analytical areas in the IR and historical domains that often remain separate.

Offering a comprehensive analysis of the evolution and current status of WMDs, this volume will be of great interest to scholars, analysts, and students of security studies, international history, and international relations.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 278Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-4236-4 • Hardback • April 2017 • $75.00 • (£49.95)
978-1-4422-4237-1 • Paperback • March 2017 • $30.00 • (£19.95)
978-1-4422-4238-8 • eBook • March 2017 • $28.00 • (£18.95)
Joseph M. Siracusa is professor in human security and international diplomacy at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, in Melbourne, Australia, and president of Australia’s Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS).

Aiden Warren is senior lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and researcher in the Centre for Global Research (CGR) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, in Melbourne, Australia.
Chapter 1. World War II and the Race for the A-Bomb
Chapter 2. The Cold War
Part a: The Nuclear Arms Race and NSC 68
Part b: Reagan, Gorbachev and the end of the Cold War
Chapter 3. UN Security Council Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) – United Kingdom, France and China
Chapter 4. Non-UN Security Council Nuclear Weapon States – Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea (and Iran)
Chapter 5. The Global Nuclear Non-proliferation Regime
Chapter 6. The Modern Era: The Post-Cold War and Beyond
Chapter 7. Biological and Chemical Weapons, and Nuclear Terrorism
Comprehensive and timely, Weapons of Mass Destruction is focused firmly upon the security challenges that WMD, nuclear and non-nuclear, pose to the 21st century. It presents a finely-judged account of the successive phases of nuclear history, blending well-grounded historical summaries with acute policy commentary. Writing with admirable clarity, Siracusa and Warren document how the road from 1945 led us to where we are today, with nuclear terror compounded by the insidious threats of chemical and biological attack. They show how the knife-edge stability of the Cold War was seceded by the emergence of new players and new threats which together transform the global security threat.
Ken Young, professor in the Department of War Studies, King's College London

If you want to understand the contemporary nuclear age, how we got here, and where we are headed, look no further than this tour de force by Joseph Siracusa and Aiden Warren. Unlike previous treatments of the nuclear age which tended to focus overwhelmingly on the superpower experience, Siracusa and Warren deftly contextualize the entire nuclear age by giving equal treatment to the proliferation histories and challenges presented by regional nuclear powers—precisely those powers that pose the greatest challenge to nuclear security and nonproliferation today. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone who cares literally about the future of the world.
Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Joseph Siracusa and Aiden Warren are internationally-recognized security studies scholars based in Australia and their new book, Weapons of Mass Destruction, provides an excellent overview of the past, present, and future of WMD challenges. The book is highly recommend to students who will gain from a comprehensive examination of the major issues and to more seasoned experts who will benefit from the authors’ original insights and analysis.
Matthew Kroenig, associate professor of government and foreign service, Georgetown University

Siracusa and Warren achieve an exceptional feat by packing several decades worth of WMD history into a neat read. They take us on a journey starting in the Cold War and guide us to today, telling the story of how most destructive weapons remained a steady and dangerous fixture of the international security landscape. The authors provided true service to the field by writing a foundational text that serves as a perfect introduction to the field of WMD non-proliferation.
Togzhan Kassenova, Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

  • Primer covering the main WMDs: nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical weapons and their missile delivery systems.
  • Accessible, up-to-date introduction to WMDs and the security threats they generate today.
  • Includes international case studies: Egypt, North Korea, Iran, China, Russia, etc.