The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Customer

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<ul><li><p>The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Customer</p><p>Review by Jeffrey A. LarsenScience Applications International Corporation and Josef Korbel School of InternationalStudies, University of Denver</p><p>Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons. By MatthewKroenig. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010. 245 pp., $22.95 paperback (ISBN 978-0-8014-7640-2).</p><p>In this superbly written and thoroughly researched book, Matthew Kroenig putsforward a new mid-level theory on the dynamics of nuclear proliferation. Thetitle of this reviewthe enemy of my enemy is my customeris but one findingof his meticulous review of the supply side of proliferation. This approach exam-ines not only why states may want nuclear weapons, but the equally importantpoint of whether another state is willing to provide sensitive nuclear exports tohelp that country acquire a bomb.</p><p>Kroenigs book is one of the most original and interesting studies of the busi-ness of proliferation to be published in a long time. It belongs on the shelf ofany student of proliferation, along with such classics as Potter (1990), Sagan andWaltz (1995), and Langeweische (2007), plus the multitude of more recent casestudies and examinations of international efforts to stop the spread of nuclearweapons. The authors credentials for taking on this subject are first rate, andhis research is exhaustive. This is a relatively short book, but rich in new ideas,surveys of the field, and qualitative and quantitative approaches to explainingsupply side aspects of proliferation. It includes several valuable appendices and asuperb bibliography at the end.</p><p>Kroenig has spent years studying proliferation, both as an analyst in the Ameri-can intelligence community and as an academic, the latter including multiple fel-lowships and postings at several of the most elite nonproliferation programs. Asa result of this long-term experience at many of the best centers for focusing onthe problem, he arrived at an interesting conclusion: I found a great variety inthe way countries approached the problem: some countries seemed very threa-tened by nuclear proliferation and were willing to do almost anything to stop it,others seemed less concerned, and still others were actually helping other coun-tries develop their nuclear programs (p. vii). If nuclear proliferation is a globalproblem, he asks, why the difference in attitudes and actions across the interna-tional system? An excellent question, and one this book answers convincingly.</p><p>Kroenigs research question follows from this curiosity: Why do states providesensitive nuclear assistance to nonnuclear weapon states, contributing to theinternational spread of nuclear weapons? He defines sensitive nuclear assistanceas that knowledge or material that can directly help a state develop a nuclearweapons program; this does not include insensitive nuclear assistance, such asthat meant to help with a civil nuclear power program. His thesis, and the mostinteresting finding of his book, is simple and counterintuitive: states that providesensitive nuclear assistance clearly understand what they are doing and are doingso with some strategic, coherent purpose in mind. These things dont happen byaccident. French help to Israel, Russian support to China, Chinese help toPakistan, Pakistani aid to Iran and North Koreathese were all the result of logi-Larsen, Jeffrey A. (2011) The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Customer. International Studies Review, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2486.2011.01078.x 2011 International Studies Association</p><p>International Studies Review (2011) 13, 669671</p></li><li><p>cal determinations by the supplier state. Similarly, examples where assistance wasnot provided also meet the logic test. These include the decision by the UnitedStates not to help Israel become a nuclear state in the 1950, Israel deciding notto help South Africa (at least not beyond a minimal level) in the 1970s, andIndia withholding assistance to Taiwan and Vietnam as a counter to China in the1990s. All of these were conscious strategic decisions by the supplier states.</p><p>Kroenig develops three hypotheses regarding situations in which a state maychoose to assist, or deny, another state. He then pursues an in-depth analysis ofthe data to test, and ultimately prove, these hypotheses. Another interesting find-ing is that states that can project conventional military power to distant shoreshave more to lose from proliferation than other states. It is therefore no wonderthat the United States is the leading proponent of nonproliferation efforts. It hasthe most to lose. According to Kroenig, supplier states are more likely to exportsensitive nuclear materials and technology when it would have the effect of con-straining an enemy and less likely to do it when it would constrain themselves(p. 4). Not an earth-shaking conclusion in and of itself, but one that he developswith interesting findings. He also posits that the institutions of the nuclear non-proliferation regime have not exerted a consistent restraining effect on thenuclear export behavior of member states (p. 5). The international systemremains anarchical, with states acting in their own self-interest. As a result, as theevidence clearly shows, nuclear weapons states have frequently helped other statesacquire nuclear weapons. This is both a result of, and a reason for, the lack ofsupport for an international norm against nuclear proliferation that discouragesstates from transferring sensitive nuclear material and technology (p. 5).</p><p>But is this necessarily always a negative result? Is nuclear proliferation bad, asSagan and most analysts argue, or good, as Waltz has famously argued? Kroenigseeks the median view in what he claims to be a new middle ground theory. Ashe puts it, it depends (p. 180). The spread of nuclear weapons is bad forpower-projecting states and may be good for non-power-projecting states(p. 180). The result is the unwillingness of the United States to help other statesdevelop nuclear arsenals, and its desire to lead global nonproliferation efforts.</p><p>Kroenig goes into some detail on several case studies of particular interest andvalue in proving his hypotheses. He starts with a review of the development ofIsraels nuclear program, highlighting US resistance and French assistance. Hethen looks at Chinese help to Pakistan, and the latter states support (throughthe AQ Khan network) to Iran, Libya, and North Korea. He also devotes onechapter to the demand side, reviewing more widely known theories as to whystates might want to develop nuclear weapons, and why there have been so fewcases of successful acquisition.</p><p>I have but one beef with this otherwise superb book. As someone who teachesqualitative research methods, I have never been a fan of quantitative approachesto analysis. I took the obligatory stats classes as an undergraduate and again ingrad school. I recognize that statistical methods have their place, and I canappreciate the findings of quantitative analyses when they are presented in easilyunderstood prose. Nonetheless, I thought it was unnecessary to devote one andone-half chapters, and two appendices, of this little book to statistical analyses ofstates and export data. The average reader would have been happy with a nice-written summary, with the necessary statistical data and charts hidden in theappendices.</p><p>That being said, the book does offer an additional bonus for someone whoteaches methods or the writing of research proposals. Kroenigs introductionprovides a nearly perfect example of how to write a paper or book. He presentsa thorough outline, covering all the aspects one hopes to see in a well-organizedargument; he places the book in the literature of the field; identifies how hisbook will fill the gap in that literature; lays out his research question and hypoth-</p><p>670 The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Customer</p></li><li><p>eses; raises and rebuts several alternative straw men theses that might explain hisresearch question; and provides a nice overview of the book and its key findings.Even though we dont focus on proliferation in my research methods class, I willcertainly use his introduction as a good example.</p><p>I came away from this book with a greater understanding of how proliferationoccurs, and why power-projecting states like the United States are so anxious tostop the spread of nuclear weapons, while other states dont seem to be as con-cerned. Kroenig says it best in his conclusion: US officials need to see the diffi-culty of getting international nuclear nonproliferation cooperation for what it is:nuclear proliferation threatens the United States more than any other state on the globe.The United States is a global superpower, and nuclear proliferation anywhere isa threat to Americas strategic position (p. 188). Other states have a distinctlydifferent strategic perspective: The reluctance of foreign governments to bear aburden to stop proliferation in a distant region does not happen because theymisunderstand the threat, it happens because they understand it perfectly well.For them, it is not a problem. The failure of understanding is on the US side(p. 188). This is a powerful finding for US foreign policy specialists, who shouldwelcome Matt Kroenigs work in the field and his findings in this valuable book.</p><p>References</p><p>Langeweische, William. (2007) The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor. New York: FarrarStrauss and Giroux.</p><p>Potter, William C., Ed. (1990) International Nuclear Trade and Nonproliferation: The Challenge of theEmerging Nuclear Suppliers. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.</p><p>Sagan, Scott D., and Kenneth N. Waltz, Eds. (1995) The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate. NewYork: W.W. Norton.</p><p>671Jeffrey A. Larsen</p></li></ul>