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Nuclear Logics:
Contrasting Paths in East Asia and the Middle East
Etel Solingen

Winner of the 2008 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, American Political Science Association
Co-Winner of the 2008 Robert Jervis and Paul Schroeder Award for the Best Book on International History and Politics, International History and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association

Paperback | 2007 | $45.00 | £37.95 | ISBN: 9780691134680
424 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 1 line illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400828029 |
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Nuclear Logics examines why some states seek nuclear weapons while others renounce them. Looking closely at nine cases in East Asia and the Middle East, Etel Solingen finds two distinct regional patterns. In East Asia, the norm since the late 1960s has been to forswear nuclear weapons, and North Korea, which makes no secret of its nuclear ambitions, is the anomaly. In the Middle East the opposite is the case, with Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Libya suspected of pursuing nuclear-weapons capabilities, with Egypt as the anomaly in recent decades.

Identifying the domestic conditions underlying these divergent paths, Solingen argues that there are clear differences between states whose leaders advocate integration in the global economy and those that reject it. Among the former are countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, whose leaders have had stronger incentives to avoid the political, economic, and other costs of acquiring nuclear weapons. The latter, as in most cases in the Middle East, have had stronger incentives to exploit nuclear weapons as tools in nationalist platforms geared to helping their leaders survive in power. Solingen complements her bold argument with other logics explaining nuclear behavior, including security dilemmas, international norms and institutions, and the role of democracy and authoritarianism. Her account charts the most important frontier in understanding nuclear proliferation: grasping the relationship between internal and external political survival. Nuclear Logics is a pioneering book that is certain to provide an invaluable resource for researchers, teachers, and practitioners while reframing the policy debate surrounding nonproliferation.


"Nuclear Logics is a ground-breaking work demonstrating how theory-oriented studies in political science should be conducted. Nuclear Logics is an admirable undertaking which makes an indispensable contribution to IR theory development."--Shih-Yu Chou, Political Studies Review

"The most comprehensive, theoretical, and systematic challenge [to system-level imperatives] in years. . . . This is an impressive work . . . of primary value to experts and graduate students."--International Studies Review

"Solingen's argument is cogent and well researched . . . convincing and intuitive . . . demolishes the structural realist account. . . . It deserves a wide readership."--International Affairs

"A serious, scholarly piece of work . . . reinvigorating the already rich theoretical debate on this issue. . . . Her methodological tools could prove useful in determining which Middle Eastern countries are more likely to go nuclear in reaction to Iran's programme."--Survival

"Proliferation theory steps outside the ivory tower in Etel Solingen's recent book, Nuclear Logics."--The Nonproliferation Review

"The cutting edge of nonproliferation research . . . should be of great interest to both policy practitioners and scholars. [This book] display(s) a combination of theoretical sophistication, methodological rigor, focused comparative analysis involving original field research, and attention to hypothesis testing rarely found in the nonproliferation literature."--International Security

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Table of Contents:

Preface ix

Part One: Introduction and Conceptual Framework 1
Chapter One: Introduction 3
Chapter Two: Alternative Logics on Denuclearization 23

Part Two: East Asia: Denuclearization as the Norm, Nuclearization as the Anomaly 55
Chapter Three: Japan 57
Chapter Four: South Korea 82
Chapter Five: Taiwan (Republic of China) 100
Chapter Six: North Korea 118

Part Three: The Middle East: Nuclearization as the Norm, Denuclearization as the Anomaly 141
Chapter Seven: Iraq 143
Chapter Eight: Iran 164
Chapter Nine: Israel 187
Chapter Ten: Libya 213
Chapter Eleven: Egypt 229

Part Four: Conclusions 247
Chapter Twelve: Findings, Futures, and Policy Implications 249
Notes 301
References 351
Index 385

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