Why do states build nuclear weapons?

in , on March 12, 2023

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This online teaching resource, created using the open-source software Xerte, introduces students to the main themes in the debate about nuclear nonproliferation. It is intended to set the stage for the recommended readings by introducing students to different explanations for proliferation. It includes a video of Scott Sagan discussing his article, “Why do states build nuclear weapons?” It then reframes the puzzle. Instead of looking at why states proliferate, it asks why proliferation has fallen so short of early predictions.  It concludes with a short round-up quiz based on the proposed readings. 

Recommended readings:

– Scott Sagan, “Three Models in Search of Bomb” International Security, Vol. 21, No. 3. (Winter, 1996-1997), pp. 54-86.

– Jacques Hymans, “The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation: Perception and Reality,” Ethics and International Affairs (Fall 2013), pp. 281-98.

– Shampa Biswas, Nuclear Desire (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014)

–Michel Smetana, Nuclear Deviance: Stigma Politics and the Rules of the Nonproliferation Game, (Springer, 2019).

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