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Thinking About Nuclear WeaponsPrinciples, Problems, Prospects$
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Michael Quinlan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563944.001.0001

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The Practical Agenda

The Practical Agenda

(p.166) 13 The Practical Agenda
Thinking About Nuclear Weapons

Michael Quinlan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This final chapter considers what action might be taken, short of the at-best-distant abolitionist goal, to constrain the risks and costs and to optimize the peace-maintaining contribution of nuclear armouries while they continue to exist. Drawing largely upon earlier chapters, it summarizes what needs to be done in the non-proliferation field both over problem countries and in remedying wider systemic weaknesses. It reviews the potential for further steps, especially though not only by the United States and Russia, on nuclear disarmament and related issues such as transparency and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). It notes the scope for improving doctrines and postures, for example, by clarifying the ‘no first use’ issue and by ending any remaining arrangements for holding nuclear forces at short notice to launch. Finally, it recalls that though this direct nuclear-weapon agenda is still important, the central path to dependable peace and security must still be primarily a matter of basic political advance in resolving disputes and improving structures for managing them.

Keywords:   CTBT, disarmament, doctrines, non-proliferation, nuclear-weapon agenda, political advance, problem countries, short notice, systemic weaknesses, transparency

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