The nuclear marketplace and grand strategy
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This dissertation consists of two principal sections. The first portion explores the relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Building on the "technological momentum" hypothesis, it argues that civilian nuclear cooperation increases states’ willingness to start nuclear weapons programs because it establishes a nuclear-related bureaucracy and a scientific knowledge-base. It also advances a related argument that states receiving nuclear assistance are more likely to acquire nuclear bombs. Statistical analysis using new data on civilian nuclear cooperation reveals robust support for both of these arguments. Given the relationship between nuclear weapons and civilian cooperation, the majority of this project seeks to explain why suppliers provide civilian nuclear assistance to other states. The argument is that supplier states use civilian nuclear cooperation as an instrument of their grand strategies. This leads to several hypotheses, including that military alliances and having a shared enemy increase the probability of nuclear commerce while militarized conflict reduces it. These hypotheses are also tested using statistical analysis and the new data on civilian nuclear cooperation agreements and robust empirical support is found. Normative considerations limiting the spread of nuclear weapons have little effect on civilian nuclear cooperation. States that are pursuing nuclear weapons are actually more likely to receive nuclear technology and states that make legal commitments foreswearing nuclear weapons are less likely to do so. To further test hypotheses on nuclear cooperation, the project examines three cases that are successfully predicted by my statistical model and 10 cases that are not. The analysis of successfully predicted cases reveals that the connections between the explanatory variables and civilian nuclear cooperation are consistent with the logic driving the hypotheses. The analysis of outlying cases reveals two alternative hypotheses: (1) new suppliers behave differently from established suppliers; and (2) oil producing countries are more likely to receive nuclear assistance. Further statistical analysis fails to yield significant support for either alternative hypothesis, which inspires further confidence in my argument. This study contributes to the literature on nuclear proliferation by enhancing scholarly understanding of how and why nuclear weapons spread.
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