Nuclear Weapons in the 1990s and Beyond

  • John Van Oudenaren
Part of the Issues in International Security book series (IIS)


The recent political changes in Europe and longer-term developments such as the continuing diffusion of economic and technological power throughout the world are calling into question basic assumptions about the compatibility of the existing nuclear order with other aspects of the international system. As is frequently pointed out, together the United States and the former Soviet Union possess over 95 percent of the nuclear warheads in existence, but only about 10 percent of world population and 35 percent of gross national product. This anomalous situation at the global level is compounded by a series of regional imbalances and anomalies. France and Britain have large and growing nuclear arsenals, while Japan and Germany, both of which have larger populations and economies and which are more exposed geopolitically, are barred by internal and external constraints from access to nuclear weapons. In the third world there is lingering resentment at the perceived efforts by the great powers to deny nuclear weapons to rising regional “influentials,” as well as a certain unreal quality to the discussion of nuclear weapons that arises from a blurring of the nuclear-nonnuclear distinction in the case of important countries such as India, Israel, and South Africa.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ballistic Missile Nuclear Capability 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See the criticisms of French President Mitterrand, Le Monde, July 8–9, 1990, and of Defense Minister Chevenement, Le Monde, July 13, 1990.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This section draws on Dean Wilkening, “The Future of Flexible Response,” The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Radomir Bogdanov and Andrei Kortunov, “On the Balance of Power,” International Affairs, no. 8 (1989), p. 6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vestnik MID, no. 2, 1987.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    John J. Fialka, “Soviets Begin Moving Nuclear Warheads Out of Volatile Republics,” Wall Street Journal, June 22, 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Van Oudenaren
    • 1
  1. 1.The RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA

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