Cascade of Arms: Managing Conventional Weapons Proliferation

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Cascade of Arms: Managing Conventional Weapons Proliferation

Edited by Andrew J. Pierre
Brookings Institution, 1997
466 pp. $49.95
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Pierre has been writing on this subject for many years, and he has assembled a competent group of coauthors to discuss a variety of subjects, including patterns of arms transfers, the changing economics of the arms market, the policies of suppliers and purchasers, and prospects for arms control. There are some questionable conclusions here (for example, that the former Soviet Union has "collapsed as a major arms supplier"), but the general tone is sober and realistic. The blurring of military and civilian technologies, the spread of coproduction and joint development, and the pressures on shrinking industries for more extensive sales make restraint in arms sales difficult. The editor believes that stringent arms control measures are necessary, in part because of the link between conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction -- the possibility that anthrax could end up in the warhead of a cruise missile, for instance. Perhaps, but the record is not very encouraging.