This book examines why states that could easily have become nuclear-weapon states chose to reverse their courses and renounce nuclear weapons.
In the early 1990s, states such as South Africa, Argentina and Brazil acquired the capabilities of manufacturing nuclear weapons material, yet later unexpectedly announced that they would renounce nuclear weapons. Why those states made such a complete turnaround is puzzling, considering that they had not only resisted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for decades, but also had achieved the capabilities to build nuclear weapons.
The argument focuses on the need for a leader's political survival in the face of a domestic crisis that compels the leader to seek international cooperation. For nuclear-ambitious states, giving up nuclear weapons is one of the most cooperative gestures to the international community. Nuclear renunciation thus is a diversionary act of peace effected to survive an internal crisis. Utilizing a comparative case study of five states - South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and India - the volume shows that in all four renunciation cases (India being the exception), domestic crises-both political and economic-occurred prior to their decisions to give up nuclear weapons. The book offers an insight beyond diplomatic negotiations to locate the real source of change in nuclear-ambitious states.
This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, international security, war and conflict studies and IR.