The Evolution of Arms Control
From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age
In consequence of the Russian invasion of Georgia and the U.S.-Poland missile defense pact, Russia suspended the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Meanwhile, the United States sought exemption from the global ban on nuclear exports to India, a non-signatory of the Nonproliferation Treaty. Are such actions merely symptomatic of our modern age?
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The Evolution of Arms Control: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age is the first world history of arms control through time.
Drawing on his knowledge of the comparative history of warfare and arms control across preliterate, ancient, medieval, and modern polities, Richard Dean Burns focuses longitudinally on such perennial arms control issues as negotiation, verification, and compliance. Although he does not, for example, allege that war elephants and nuclear weapons are of equal destructive potential, he does discern instructive similarities between Carthage in 202 BCE and Iraq in 1991 AD.
Arms control and disarmament measures have been pursued and adopted throughout the history and prehistory of human warfare: sometimes as protocols recognizing evolving humanitarian taboos; sometimes as terms imposed by the victors on the vanquished; and sometimes as accords negotiated between rivals fearful of mutual destruction. Arms control measures ramped up in significance and urgency at the dawn of the 20th century by the introduction of rapid-fire weapons, aircraft, chemical agents, and submarines, and again at mid-century with the advent of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear, chemical, and bacteriological—with sophisticated delivery systems. As Burns makes clear, the enormous increase in destructive potential brought about by thermonuclear weaponry essentially changed the nature of war and, therefore, of arms control.
- Weds an inductive analysis of arms control systems to a general history of arms control from 883 BCE to the present
- Offers comparisons between present-day challenges relating to arms control and those that evolved in the past
- Spotlights such perennial arms-control issues as negotiation, verification, and compliance
- Series Description
Praeger Security International
As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.
International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.
Covering global hot spots from Iran to Venezuela and subjects ranging from terrorism and cyber warfare to food security, books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, academic researchers, journalists, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth analysis and international perspectives that are unavailable in the mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students, researchers, and policymakers as well as for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.
- Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
- Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
- Author Info
"Written for anyone interested in arms control and disarmament issues as well as military history, this book reviews the historic means and techniques for arms control such as demilitarization, regulation of arms manufacturing, stabilizing international environments and the outlawing of war. A section also reviews nuclear weaponry before and after the Cold War and the emergence of biological and bacterial delivery systems."
"History has shown that war is terrible, but it would be even be more horrifying if nations had not attempted to place
limits on armed conflict. Few readers could have imagined the painstaking negotiations involved in reaching
agreements placing restrictions on weaponry, torture, and other unsavory components of modern war until Burns, a
recognized expert in foreign and national security affairs, published this new book. The author (emer., history,
California State Univ., Los Angeles) highlights the historical antecedents that are at the heart of modern weapons
control accords. But he goes further than that and outlines how victors sought to disarm their former adversaries, as
Rome did with Carthage following the Punic Wars or the Allies did in Germany after WW II. Today, however, the
issues are more complex and require considerable engagement on the world stage. Burns chronicles the progression
of arms negotiations, allowing readers to visualize the intricacy of arms control and grasp the difficulties of finding
common ground in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Whether the world's diplomatic efforts will be
successful remains to be seen. Still, a major contribution. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
"Richard Dean Burns's The Evolution of Arms Control is at once a timely and significant contribution to the literature of the subject, written in plain English by one of America's leading historian of arms control and disarmament. This thoughtful book will provide both generalists and specialists a better understanding of the multidimensionality of the most important issue of our age. All politicians and their advisers should give this work a careful read as they consider how their policies will enhance or inhibit the development of a more stable, secure world."
"With President Obama, and former Secretaries of State George Schultz and Henry Kissinger calling for 'A World Without Nuclear Weapons,' arms control is in the news more than in decades. . . . What will happen this time? With its well documented facts and chronologies, Richard Dean Burns' highly readable history of arms control will help the reader navigate the difficult waters of international diplomacy and gain new insight about where the Obama administration may succeed."
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