Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

History Nuclear Warfare

Atomic Assurance

The Alliance Politics of Nuclear Proliferation

by (author) Alexander Lanoszka

Cornell University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2018
Nuclear Warfare, Security (National & International), Arms Control
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2018
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 18
  • Grade: 12


Do alliances curb efforts by states to develop nuclear weapons? Atomic Assurance looks at what makes alliances sufficiently credible to prevent nuclear proliferation; how alliances can break down and so encourage nuclear proliferation; and whether security guarantors like the United States can use alliance ties to end the nuclear efforts of their allies.

Alexander Lanoszka finds that military alliances are less useful in preventing allies from acquiring nuclear weapons than conventional wisdom suggests. Through intensive case studies of West Germany, Japan, and South Korea, as well as a series of smaller cases on Great Britain, France, Norway, Australia, and Taiwan, Atomic Assurance shows that it is easier to prevent an ally from initiating a nuclear program than to stop an ally that has already started one; in-theater conventional forces are crucial in making American nuclear guarantees credible; the American coercion of allies who started, or were tempted to start, a nuclear weapons program has played less of a role in forestalling nuclear proliferation than analysts have assumed; and the economic or technological reliance of a security-dependent ally on the United States works better to reverse or to halt that ally's nuclear bid than anything else.

Crossing diplomatic history, international relations, foreign policy, grand strategy, and nuclear strategy, Lanoszka's book reworks our understanding of the power and importance of alliances in stopping nuclear proliferation.

About the author

Alexander Lanoszka is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Waterloo. Previously, he taught at City, University of London and has held fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College. His research on alliance politics, theories of war, and European security has appeared in International Security, Security Studies, International Affairs, Survival, and other academic journals. He holds a PhD from Princeton University.

Alexander Lanoszka's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Political scientists and historians will each find this work to be a fitting springboard for further research into nuclear proliferation and military alliances. With Atomic Assurance, Lanoszka has made a valuable contribution to the study of arms control that deserves the attention of academics and policy-makers alike.

Diplomacy & Statecraft

In case studies of West Germany, Japan, and South Korea, Lanoszka compares alternative explanations for proliferation decisions, finding support for his claims.... The analysis offered is well-reasoned.