Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

When Proliferation Causes Peace: The Psychology of Nuclear Crises, Michael D. Cohen

Reviewed by Terence Roehrig

BUY

 

Though nuclear weapons have been in existence for over 70 years, scholars and analysts continue to struggle to understand the dynamics associated with these weapons. Why do states acquire nuclear weapons? What types of nuclear doctrines do established and new nuclear states adopt? What utility do nuclear weapons have for state security?

Two questions have received less treatment: how do nuclear weapons affect the foreign policies of new nuclear weapons states, and what does this tell us about the dangers of nuclear proliferation? Michael D. Cohen has written an excellent book that begins to answer these questions. Using cognitive psychology, Cohen argues, “Leaders of new nuclear powers tend to authorize assertive foreign policies and accept the risk of nuclear escalation until those leaders experience fear of imminent nuclear war themselves” (p. 12). Thus, once the initial period passes and new nuclear leaders experience firsthand the terrifying prospect of nuclear war, nuclear proliferation becomes less dangerous. Cohen presents a persuasive argument that this nuclear path is not static and evolves as leaders learn from their experiences as a nuclear weapons state.

After laying out the theoretical framework in Chapter 2, the next three chapters examine case studies that provide empirical evidence for his argument. Chapter 3 chronicles ho

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Primaries and Conventions for 2020

On To the Convention, Again
Caroline Monahan and Robert Y. Shapiro

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Extending the U.S. Umbrella and Increasing Chances of War   THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: EXTENDING THE U.S. UMBRELLA AND INCREASING CHANCES OF WAR

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

The Greater Good Gathering: Technology, Community, and the Greater Good
February 6–7, 2019
New York, NY

The Greater Good Gathering conference explored the future of public policy and how best to advance the greater good in the 21st century in light of technological innovation, economic disruption, ideological polarization, and governance challenges.

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS