Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, no state has unleashed nuclear weapons. What explains this?
According to the author, the answer lies in a prohibition inherent in the tradition of non-use, a time-honored obligation that has been adhered to by all nuclear statesthanks to a consensus view that use would have a catastrophic impact on humankind, the environment, and the reputation of the user.The book offers an in-depth analysis of the nuclear policies of the U.S., Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Israel, and Pakistan and assesses the contributions of these states to the rise and persistence of the tradition of nuclear non-use. It examines the influence of the tradition on the behavior of nuclear and non-nuclear states in crises and wars, and explores the tradition's implications for nuclear non-proliferation regimes, deterrence theory, and policy. And it concludes by discussing the future of the tradition in the current global security environment.
T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations, McGill University and Director, University of Montreal-McGill Research Group in International Security. He has published eight books including Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (with James Wirtz and Michel Fortman, Stanford, 2004).
"Paul builds on the impressive progress by scholars of deterrence, especially on the crucial concept of reputation. Unlike much of deterrent scholarship, which stresses reputation for credibility, Paul is more concerned with reputation in the form of esteem. Non-use, he argues, is a social norm based on calculation of interest. Like Joseph Nye's work on soft power, Paul sees states restrained by their need for acceptance or support. Time and again, his scholarship reveals decision-makers pre-occupied not by the anguish of violating a moral taboo, but by fear of antagonizing various audiences, above all other states."
Contemporary Security Policy
"Paul's framework is a timely and important contribution to the nuclear debate that incorporates valuable perspectives from both the rationalist and ideational perspectives. As the issues of arms control, force structure, and disarmament inevitably become mired in political trench warfare, creative and eclectic thinking on nuclear issues will be at a premium. The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons stands to provide an example of the rigorous scrutiny to which classic paradigms must be subjected in the search for real-world policy solutions."
Joint Forces Quarterly
"T.V. Paul has provided a solid, useful explanation of the major sources of that tradition and of the threats to its continuation. Both academics and policy makers would do well to pay attention to his work."
"An impressive and nuanced assessment, at once wide-ranging and focused."
Professor of political science at Ohio State University and author of the forthcoming Atomic Obsession - John Mueller
"A good book is clearly written, methodically laid out, carefully researched, appropriately nuanced, and has interesting and important things to say. On these dimensions, T.V. Paul has written a very good book indeed . . . The Tradition of Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons clearly has a great deal to offer to a variety of audiences. It speaks to an obviously important issue; it nicely balances theory and history; and it corrects a number of important misconceptions. Moreover, it accomplishes all this remarkably efficiently-in just over 200 pages of text."
H-Diplo Book Review Forum
"Paul has produced an excellent book. The central argument that a tradition of non-use has restrained the use of nuclear weapons is well-developed and largely convincing. Although the extent of this influence is, of course, debatable, Paul succeeds in exploring the historical influence and broader implications of the tradition. This book therefore makes an important contribution to the growing body of literature considering the non-use of nuclear weapons."
"Paul has written an interesting and useful book. He highlights the continuing, and perhaps increasing, dangers of nuclear use and the importance of maintaining the tradition of non-use."
University of Swansea - John Baylis
"Paul's 'riveting' and 'masterly' book traverses the world of theory and policy with equal ease and is illustrative of how innovative theorizing can shed new light on real world issues in greater depth, offer a richer analysis of even much debated issues. This books deserves to be taken seriously by both policy makers and academics as it is one of the most original and significant contributions to our understanding of nuclear weapons to have come out in recent times."
"The most astonishing event of the twentieth century did not occur: no nuclear weapons used in warfare since the two on Japan in August, 1945.
Here is the first thorough history of the evolution of that powerful, completely unpredicted, tradition, with analysis of how to maintain and strengthen it."
University of Maryland - Thomas Schelling, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Distinguished University Professor, School of Public Policy
"Paul has written an interesting and useful book. He highlights the continuing and perhaps increasing dangers of nuclear use and the importance of maintaining the tradition of non-use. This is a debate that has been neglected and Paul puts it firmly back on the agenda both for students of strategic studies and practitioners involved in maintaining internationals security in a dangerous world."
The International History Review