Drawing upon his unique perspective on the diplomatic firing line, 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner ElBaradei—director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009—shares his unique perspective on how to achieve global security.
As a principal leader in the nuclear dramas of the last two decades (and his emergence as a leader of the movement for democratic reforms in Egypt), the author’s warning that the world is “on the cusp of significant change” has significant weight. In his judgment, what he calls “the Third Nuclear Age”—the post-Soviet period when U.S. power was unchallenged—is coming to an end. During his years at the IAEA, ElBaradei had the frustrating job of trying to negotiate peaceful resolutions of the tensions between the U.S., Britain and France on one side, and Iran and North Korea on the other. He describes how negotiations were continually sabotaged because of domestic pressures, and he examines the actions of Iranian leaders, who had oversold their nuclear program to gain internal prestige while deceiving the IAEA for years. ElBaradei is also sharply critical of the major powers, all of which are duplicitous in their own ways. The author charges that the nuclear nonproliferation regime is “a double standard” based on the asymmetry between those who have such weapons, which they continue to modernize, and the “have-nots,” who have no defense against attack—in addition to the economic inequality between the major powers and the developing sector, which spawns extremism, violence and civil wars. ElBaradei recognizes that we must acknowledge “that poverty too, is a weapon of mass destruction,” and both kinds must be addressed.
A powerful presentation of alternative directions that will shape the future of global politics.