This book is the great work of a renowned scholar throughout the field that deals with weapons of the nuclear origin and also international relations. The book tries to examine the crisis of order emerging due to existence of mass destruction weapons. Therefore the book is majorly skewed towards the issue of nuclear power and if there could be any measures aimed to control the impasse caused by this problem.
The book cites that the key problem regarding the international order originated in the period of nineteenth century, a time when new sciences were coming about, industrialization was also on speed, administrative capabilities and technologies not slowing down and this upgraded states to another level ushering in a disastrous era characterized by total war.
This situation became worse mid-twentieth century. The atomic bomb was invented and this matters serious during the cold world war. It even went to worst at the conclusion of this war when power structures were shifting; emerging of new insecurities and technologies coinciding with weaponry of mass destruction became a point of interest to many.
William Walker investigates how this crisis is figured out by influential participants, how they try day in day out to come up with solutions during this moment they are faced by many predicaments. Of concern again is why majority of this thought out solutions are proving effective or ineffective, legitimate or illegitimate in various contexts and even times.
The book review
William Walker truly is an exceptional author, a humanist, a great thinker and an elegant writer very conversant with those technical issues surrounding administration, and also he is an expert in the nuclear creation intrigued by how power is applied creating, maintaining and shaping nuclear order. The writer is in a good position to give a big picture in the assessment of nuclear dilemma partly because of the observation he has done from a distance in the USA and Russia.
The predicaments Walker addresses in his covers in his newest book will definitely be recognizable to most of the readers. Walker investigates this poorly exposed niche in simplicity and at the same time avoiding academic jargon for the book to suffice its purpose which targets general readers, practitioners and also academic peers. He comfortably succeeds best for he casts key events concerning nuclear history. However this success comes about amidst a ragged and an evolving nuclear order.
Walker does not concern himself with offering a more elaborated treatment on how likely the universal nuclear order will evolve as far as structural perspective is concerned. He instead presents shorthand analysis which relies mainly on a more familiar policy as well as alternative futures.
The title of the book, A Perpetual Menace: Nuclear Weapons and International Order, is attributable to a very famous quote from Niels Bohr. The man sought to give a warning to the president. President Franklin Roosevelt received a memorandum in July 1944. The memorandum was against the evil of a world marred with atomic bombs. Bohr knew that the U.S. president was to likely find a compelling reason to put into use a serious weapon so that he could put the World War II to an end. He nonetheless advised that a perpetual menace aimed at human society may outweigh the greatest temporary advantage. Mr. Walker is drawn towards Bohr with a good reason. They have the same opinion concerning the bomb. Both are well informed on the grinding policy governing the nuclear world and they can account satisfactorily on the nuclear evolution.
I totally concur with Walker when he notes that nuclear order is shaped traditionally by occasions and conclusion of serious wars. But in contrast nuclear order has been given shape and it is evolving even without the presence of great wars. The race in nuclear arms between United States and Soviet Union might have worsened the process to create nuclear order hence making it seem impossible. The race instead was characterized by the creative diplomacy which ultimately saw the reduction of vertical proliferation as well as limited proliferation of horizontal orientation. The reason as to why I see truth in his way of arguing is that, as he continues to say, three vital norms hindering the nuclear order emerged in the time of this prolonged competition, that is, the nonexistence of bomb’s battlefield since the year 1945. The evolution of nuclear order both in vertical as well as horizontal domains, not forgetting the connective tissues between the two, may pose as the most significant but underappreciated achievement of the diplomacy of post-World War II.
The introductory chapter in this book is particularly very good. Walker says that the pursuit regarding nuclear order is problematic in that it is contentious and always has the influence of political struggle and may be will never end. The main question that the writer addresses is the way states remain drawn into a restraining logic (Walker 22). The installation of this logic as well as rendering it bearable lays at the core of the trouble and the project of the nuclear order. Order creation has proved to be a difficulty affair yet is so vital. This has been so due to the fact that there is a diverse equity among states which possess and those abstaining from the nuclear weaponry. Another set of impediments has been the hedging strategies which are on the rise, flux of the civil nuclear programs as well as the unacceptability to any order which permanently honors and recognizes the institutionalized injustice. Walker further says that for order to thrive there must be the practice of underpinning nuclear deterrence and a potential wild beast which should be domesticated by the application of treaty instruments and also norms.
Walker’s way of analyzing the situation is quite a well thought out one as tries as much as he can to suggest a way forward if not to offer a candid solution. Then defines global nuclear order saying that it entails patterns attributed to evolving thoughts and activities which serve the basic goals of how to survive in the world, avoiding war, developing the economy, providing an accommodative situation which shuns differences in the people’s capabilities, rights, obligations and practices embedded to the state. Treaties were put up to form foundation stones which were aimed at offering diplomatic reassurance as a way of complimenting deterrence. The foundation stone which emerged first was put up so quickly through the interlocking of super power completion. Then more and more came by however facing serious challenges.
The very first treaty which was the ban of nuclear testing in the atmosphere saw its conclusion after distressing disaster over Cuba and Berlin. It was now possible to put down the central foundation stone that was key in the year 1968 during the signing of the treaty “nuclear Nonproliferation” (NPT) (Walker, 20) which was after the query on the acquisition of weapons of the nuclear origin by west Germany was answered in a negative manner. In the year 1972, Key foundation stones which were missing were added. An agreement, which was executive loosely structuring U.S.-Soviet competition for strategic arms and the treaty known as Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) were put in place. The latter effectively prohibited national defenses from using ballistic missiles which were sea- based.
Walker then addresses the problems characterizing the nuclear order. He says that the touching parts for the nuclear order as an enterprise need repair and again should be strengthened. There was a treaty “Comprehensive test ban” enacted the year 1995 but it seems stuck despite the fact that it looked so promising. Construction is yet to start on another one, a treaty known as “the fissile material cut off”. The writer notes that, the international order to be sustained, there should be a collective crisis solving and then putting up an institution for the same.
Arms Control Today March 2012 Building a Nuclear Order, Retrieved from,
William, Walker ‘A Perpetual Menace: Nuclear Weapons and International Order’, Routledge (2011).
Taylor& Francis group, Retrieved from, http://www.ewidgetsonline.net/dxreader/Reader.aspx?token=81e25b12d0fb4b7e85b6b4be2747729f&rand=1250029476&buyNowLink=&page=&chapter