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Nuclear posturing by small states like North Korea

The Delicate Art of Nuclear Jujutsu University of North Carolina Press Shane J. Maddock, 7 Jan 2010 The second decade of the twenty-first century looms as the age of nuclear jujutsu. Second- and third-tier powers are increasingly poised to use small nuclear arsenals or the threat of nuclear weapons development to force larger powers to submit to their demands.

Circumstances shifted in favor of smaller powers after the Cold War’s conclusion. Beginning in the 1990s, India, North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan adroitly exploited great powers’ economic and security interests to fend off pressures to abandon their nuclear ambitions. In some instances, these states won substantial concessions from the larger powers.
North Korea offers a fascinating example of this phenomenon. Poor, weak, and isolated with only one major ally (China), Pyongyang, of all the new nuclear powers, could most easily forgo nuclear weapons because its great power protector would likely extend its nuclear umbrella over its communist neighbor. And yet, since 1994, Pyongyang has practiced nuclear posturing in order to manipulate more powerful states to its own ends. North Korea has repeatedly played China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States off one another to win food and energy aid commitments from the other powers and to secure removal from the U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism…………..

The success of nuclear jujutsu leads to several important conclusions. First, nuclear weapons have ceased to be an asset for the great powers. They are fundamentally unusable against the threats facing the major states in the twenty-first century, and their large nuclear arsenals only legitimate the efforts of smaller powers to acquire nuclear weapons to deter great power attacks.

Second, arguments for expanding nuclear power production merely complicate the international security environment. Nuclear power production is a key first step toward nuclear weapons. Every practitioner of nuclear jujutsu began by claiming it only had peaceful nuclear ambitions, and each nation then exploited its nuclear reactors to produce materials for military purposes. A necessary step to ending the nuclear threat is to eliminate nuclear power production.

UNC Press Blog » The Delicate Art of Nuclear Jujutsu

January 7, 2010 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | , , , ,

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