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The British Nuclear Experience: The Role of Beliefs, Culture and Identity / John Baylis, Kristan Stoddart
Swansea University Author: John Baylis
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This book has two major objectives. First, it sets out to chart in detail the British experience with nuclear weapons from the Second World War down to the present day, including the contemporary debate about the future of Trident. There are numerous excellent studies that provide a history of Briti...
Oxford University Press
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This book has two major objectives. First, it sets out to chart in detail the British experience with nuclear weapons from the Second World War down to the present day, including the contemporary debate about the future of Trident. There are numerous excellent studies that provide a history of British nuclear policy in particular periods since 1945, but none covers the development of nuclear policy and strategic doctrine over the period as a whole. The second objective is to analyse Britain’s nuclear experience by moving away from traditional interpretations of why states develop and maintain nuclear weapons by adopting a more contemporary approach to political theory. Traditional mainstream explanations tend to stress the importance of factors such as ‘the maximization of power’, the pursuit of ‘national security interests’, and also the role of ‘structure’ in a largely anarchic international system. This book does not dismiss these approaches, but it is argued that the British experience suggests that focusing on ‘beliefs’, ‘culture’, and ‘identity’ provides a more useful insight into the process of British nuclear decision-making than the more traditional approaches. The book concludes by arguing that the nuclear ‘habit of mind’ is so well entrenched amongst the political and military elite in Britain and a supporting ‘nuclear advocacy coalition’ that there will need to be an extraordinary change in the ‘beliefs’ of this elite for Britain to give up its continuing commitment to maintaining nuclear weapons as the ultimate guarantee of the nation’s national security and political identity.
British nuclear experience, beliefs, Culture, Identity, Decision-making, nuclear advocacy coalition, Nuclear weapons, Government policy Great Britain, History, Military other, technology and engineering military science, politics and government
College of Arts and Humanities