The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics

Paul Bracken, Author, Bracken, Author
Paul Bracken. Times, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9430-5
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-4504-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-03735-0
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Bracken (Fire in the East), Yale political scientist and an adviser to the Defense Department, addresses the uncomfortable subject of post–cold war nuclear management. He convincingly describes a 21st-century “second nuclear age” characterized by proliferation. Nuclear weapons have become established aspects of regional, as well as global military strategy—not least because of growing distrust of U.S. intentions. At the same time, U.S. policy, politics, and public opinion on the subject are influenced by a dangerous synergy of government “denial of nuclear reality” and hope mongering that catastrophe can be avoided. Bracken makes a solid case for applying intelligence and clearheaded analysis of a “new logic of Armageddon” focused on nuclear powers in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. His potential scenarios include a nuclear Iran, a nuclear Indo-Pakistan confrontation, and a China combining nuclear capacity with the ability to move faster than its rivals. For America he recommends a primer on nuclear strategy, a readmission of nuclear weapons to the nation’s dialogue on security planning, a proactive policy as opposed to the reactive caution of the first nuclear era. There are no guarantees—but he makes a strong argument that depending on “prudence and luck” is a recipe for disaster. Agent: Jim Hornfischer, Hornfischer Literary Management. (Nov.)
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