Cover image for Trappings of power : ballistic missiles in the Third World
Trappings of power : ballistic missiles in the Third World
Nolan, Janne E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution, 1991.
Physical Description:
x, 209 pages ; 24 cm

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UG1312.B34 N65 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Since the beginning of the crisis precipitated by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the threat posed by Iraq's arsenal of ballistic missiles has been the focus of international attention. In the opening days of the U.S.-led military counteroffensive beginning on January 16, 1992, Iraq launched ballistic missiles against population centers in Israel and military bases in Saudi Arabia. The attacks intensified the terror of the war and prompted renewed efforts by the multinational force to destroy Saddam Hussein's military machine. The countries aligned against Iraq were prepared for attacks by chemically armed missiles, but Iraq's missile force proved to be of little military consequence. The missiles that survived the opening hours of Operation Desert Storm were conventionally armed, inaccurate and unreliable. Most of those that were actually launched either were intercepted by American antimissile defenses or failed to hit vital targets. But the political impact of the missiles was inestimable. The strikes symbolized Iraq's determination to prosecute the war no matter what the cost. By threatening to involve Israel, they created severe tensions and posed the risk that multinational military coalition would be dissolved, and they underscored the potential vulnerability of all the states in the region to Iraqi aggression. In this book, Janne E. Nolan argues that the use of missiles is a harbinger of the altered international security environment confronting the Untied States and its allies in the late twentieth century. Long believed to be a distant prospect, the adoption of technological resources to missile development is already occurring in over a dozen developing countries, many of them long-standing regional antagonists. These capabilities present complicated challenges to American interests and foreign policy, challenges that have only begun to be explored as a result of the Iraqi crisis. The author examines the evolution of the internati

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Choice Review

Iraq's use of ballistic missiles in the Gulf War--more effective politically and psychologically than militarily--was a sharp reminder of the proliferation of such weapons in the so-called Third World, which is deplored by the US and other developed countries at the same time they contribute to it. These developments are the focus of this study by Nolan (Brookings Institution) who points out, "For now, missile programs may be far more significant politically than militarily"; but "the question is no longer whether industrializing countries will develop and deploy advanced missiles but when." Ever present is the danger that "with the spread of longer-range ballistic missiles, local or regional military conflicts could have wider international consequences." Nolan sets the treatment of ballistic missile technology, often highly technical, within the larger framework of the changing international security environment. She emphasizes the need for the US to develop effective coordination among agencies with jurisdiction over trade policy, security, assistance, economic assistance, sensitive technology transfers, space policy, and arms control." She concludes by recommending international collaboration in establishing an international security regime. A timely and important book for advanced students and informed general readers. N. D. Palmer emeritus, University of Pennsylvania