In her article “Proliferation and the Logic of the Nuclear Market,” Eliza Gheorghe argues that the distribution of power in the international system and the intensity of great power rivalries shape the supply-side environment for nuclear weapons proliferation. Her article offers an international system-level explanation for why potential proliferators were more successful at acquiring foreign support for their nuclear weapons programs during the early part of the Cold War but were less so during the détente period of the Cold War and the unipolar period after its conclusion. Notably, Gheorghe predicts that the multipolar period into which the international system is emerging poses the greatest supply-side risks for nuclear weapons proliferation.
Many scholars and policymakers concerned with the proliferation of nuclear weapons assume that the passage of time has made it much easier for states and terrorist groups to achieve their nuclear ambitions. For example, in their book The Nuclear Express, Thomas Reed and Danny Stillman reflect this common assumption: “Any well-industrialized society with the intellectual firepower, economic resources, and government determination can join the nuclear club less than three years from go.”
Not only is Francis Gavin one of those rare individuals today who actually remembers the Cold War, but he believes it is relevant to today’s concerns. In this bright and engaging article, he examines several myths concerning the Cold War and nuclear weapons and the alarm they have so routinely inspired.