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Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy cover

Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy

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Exploring what we know--and don't know--about how nuclear weapons shape American grand strategy and international relations

A 2020 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

The world first confronted the power of nuclear weapons when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The global threat of these weapons deepened in the following decades as more advanced weapons, aggressive strategies, and new nuclear powers emerged. Ever since, countless books, reports, and articles--and even a new field of academic inquiry called "security studies"--have tried to explain the so-called nuclear revolution.

Francis J. Gavin argues that scholarly and popular understanding of many key issues about nuclear weapons is incomplete at best and wrong at worst. Among these important, misunderstood issues are: how nuclear deterrence works; whether nuclear coercion is effective; how and why the United States chose its nuclear strategies; why countries develop their own nuclear weapons or choose not to do so; and, most fundamentally, whether nuclear weapons make the world safer or more dangerous.

These and similar questions still matter because nuclear danger is returning as a genuine threat. Emerging technologies and shifting great-power rivalries seem to herald a new type of cold war just three decades after the end of the U.S.-Soviet conflict that was characterized by periodic prospects of global Armageddon.

Nuclear Weapons and American Grand Strategy helps policymakers wrestle with the latest challenges. Written in a clear, accessible, and jargon-free manner, the book also offers insights for students, scholars, and others interested in both the history and future of nuclear danger.

Francis J. Gavin is the Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and the inaugural director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. His previous books include Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations and Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America's Atomic Age.

ISBN: 9780815737919

ISBN-10: 9780815737919

Publisher: Brookings Institution Press

Publication Date: 01/21/2020 - 12:00am

On Sale: 01/21/2020 - 12:00am

Pages: 320

Language: English


Security (National & International)


International Relations - Arms Control