Bribing the Bomb: How States Respond to Inducements for Arms Control

Under what conditions do major powers influence leaders to stop pursuing nuclear weapons programs? While most literature focuses on why states begin programs and what factors may make them more or less likely to acquire weapons capabilities, there is less theoretically rigorous work on the specific conditions under which leaders choose to reverse their programs. Further, of those studies that consider reversal, the focus is largely on the efficacy of economic sanctions to prevent proliferation. Few studies focus on the utility of positive inducements, and even fewer look at the net effects of inducement options as a comprehensive package even though proliferation diplomacy often embraces packages in dealing with states of concern. This book sheds new light on the relationship between inducements and nuclear reversal. 

Recent tensions with North Korea highlight the importance of understanding what policy options are most effective at convincing leaders to reverse their nuclear programs. How the Trump administration will respond to Kim Jong Un's increasingly intense rhetoric regarding  Pyongyang's ability to carry out a nuclear strike has been paramount among both academics and policy-makers. Secretary of State Tillerson, for example, noted in May 2017 that the U.S. ``will not negotiate our way back to the negotiating table with North Korea ... we will not reward their bad behavior with talks.'' Though North Korea has been under sanctions, both bilaterally from the United States and multilaterally from the United Nations, Kim Jong Un's fervor for strengthening his nuclear weapons program has only increased.

In order to more fully understand the causes and conditions of nuclear reversal, I utilize a mixed-methods approach to test my theoretical model. I have generated original data on positive and negative inducements to examine what types of inducements are more likely to trigger, or fail to trigger, nuclear reversal. I begin with a large-N analysis that lays the foundations for arguing that positive inducements are more effective at persuading leaders to end their nuclear weapons programs, testing the data across a range of model specifications. I then conduct case studies for South Korea, Pakistan,  and Kazakhstan to show the conditions under which positive inducements are successful in ending nuclear weapons programs. The cases rely on first source information in the forms of archival material, memoirs, and interviews. 

The book has several important policy implications. Namely, it speaks to what specific types of inducements are most effective at persuading leaders to end their nuclear weapons programs and under what conditions. These findings are crucial for both those interested in nonproliferation and those interested in when and how weapons programs end. The book focuses on nuclear weapons, for these weapons systems more than any others get at the heart of national security and even national pride; however, the implications can be extended to examine other types of weapons systems such as chemical and biological, and even the move away from aircraft carriers after World War II. A discussion of these weapons systems is included in the conclusion of the book.