When Proliferation Causes Peace

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301 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626164949 ()

301 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626164956 ()

ISBN: 9781626164963

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December 2017
LC: 2017002309


Table of Contents

When Proliferation Causes Peace
The Psychology of Nuclear Crises
Michael D. Cohen
Does state acquisition of nuclear weapons lead to stability and peace or instability and crises? This is one of the great debates in international relations scholarship. Michael D. Cohen argues that nuclear weapons acquisition often does dangerously embolden the acquiring state to undertake coercion and aggression, but that this behavior moderates over time as leaders learn the dangers and limitations of nuclear coercion. This book examines the historical cases of the Soviet Union and Pakistan in depth and also looks at mini-cases involving the United States, China, and India. This book broadens our understanding of how leaders and states behave when they acquire nuclear weapons and is important reading for scholars and students of international relations, security studies, and political psychology.
Michael D. Cohen is a senior lecturer in security studies at at the National Security College at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. He is coeditor of North Korea and Nuclear Weapons (Georgetown University Press). His articles have appeared in International Security, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, The Non-Proliferation Review, and Strategic Studies Quarterly.
"Cohen's book has a number of admirable qualities. In addition to tackling a critically important question, the theory is refreshing in its focus on the experiences of individual leaders. . . . Cohen's book is an important step toward understanding the role of psychology and leader experiences in nuclear decision-making."—H-Diplo

"An original, innovative contribution to security studies, and to contemporary attempts to develop leader-based theories of nuclear behavior. It charts a new path for scholars interested in pursuing application of cognitive biases in nuclear studies."—

"An original, innovative contribution to security studies, and to contemporary attempts to develop leader-based theories of nuclear behavior. It charts a new path for scholars interested in pursuing the application of cognitive biases in nuclear studies....an important book that contributes new insights to the field of nuclear studies."—Perspectives on Politics

"Too often the effect of nuclear weapons on a state's foreign policy is discussed without regard for the passage of time. Using political psychology, Michael Cohen examines historical cases and shows that new nuclear states learn from their brushes with disaster and come to appreciate that while their arsenals may protect them, they are too dangerous to provide leverage to make gains. This is a significant contribution to our knowledge."—Robert Jervis, author of How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University.

"Cohen analyzes how politicians learn from and adapt after crises and demonstrates just how sobering the prospect of war can be."—Foreign Affairs

"Cohen provides a detailed, well-researched, and structured analysis of crucial questions regarding the dangers of nuclear proliferation."—Political Science Quarterly

"When Proliferation Causes Peace is a lively, entertaining book with a provocative, interesting thesis. Cohen offers a nuanced assessment of the impact of proliferation on state behavior, with expectations based not upon fictional homo-economic states but realistic understandings of human psychology."—Political Psychology

"It is useful, even vital, to use political-science methods to seek a better understanding of the general behavioral tendencies of top leaders in nuclear affairs. Cohen's book is a fine example of how to do it."—The Nonproliferation Review

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations

1. Nuclear Weapons: Cause of Conflict or Principle of Peace?
2. Fear and Learning: Psychology, Nuclear Crisis, and Foreign Policy
3. Blind Moles and Mutual Extermination The Soviet Union, 1956-1962
4. The Most Dangerous Place in the World: Pakistan, 1998-2002
5. I Thought It Was My Last Meal: Kennedy, Vajpayee, Nixon, and Mao
6. If You Can Get Through This Period: When Proliferation Causes Peace
About the Author