THE FIRST NUCLEAR WORLD WAR: A New Vision of National Security to Stop the Spread of the Bomb by Patrick O.; Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins Heffernan

THE FIRST NUCLEAR WORLD WAR: A New Vision of National Security to Stop the Spread of the Bomb

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Readers tolerant of future scenarios, earnest pronouncements, basic information (what the Third World is), and a handbook style can learn a good deal here about the advancing nuclearization of the Third World--how it came about, why we should worry, what to do about it. At half the length, however, it would be twice the spur-to-action that the authors intend. In the opening scenario, set in 1985, a Palestinian terrorist with a few primitive plutonium bombs threatens Israel and the US with nuclear blasts unless they move to dismantle israeli settlements on the West Bank--ultimately touching off nuclear confrontations between India and Pakistan, and Iran and Iraq. The moral: ""Once the terrible logic begins to unfold. . . it cannot be stopped. Nations at war that have in their armories weapons of ultimate destruction will ultimately use them. . . . To fail to do so is to risk annihilation from abroad and renunciation at home."" The book's second section describes how ""a misguided thirty-year effort by the West to bring the power of the splitting atom to all nations"" has led inexorably from reactors to bombs--in terms of the nuclear-bomb capability (known or suspected) of Israel, India, South Africa, and Pakistan; the nuclear-bomb prospects of six other Third World nations (including the three searching for an ""Islamic Bomb""); the particular threat of nuclear terrorism; and the danger that nuclear confrontation ""would simply become an act of life in the developing countries."" (For one thing: ""These weapons enable small countries to inflict mortal damage on one another too quickly for superpower intervention."") Part Iii relates how the ""nuclear trade,"" together with the Superpower arms race, have brought nuclear proliferation--the authors' idea being to ""unmask"" nuclear power as a military technology and highlight the contagious ""excitement"" of nonnuclear arms competition. The fourth section lays out ""The Soft Path to Peace""--chiefly via the use of ""soft energy,"" a concept with which Amory Lovins (Soft Energy Paths: Toward a Durable Peace, 1973) has long been associated. This material, obscured by the Third World War to-do, ranges from US oil-conservation measures to a ""nonviolent"" energy strategy for various of the developing nations (how to deal, for instance, with the fuel wood shortage). As an antinuclear package, the book coheres--polemically too: the authors conclude by assigning priority to nuclear disarmament in the First and Second World. It's also a non-sensationalist alternative to Steve Weissman and Herbert Krosney's The Islamic Bomb (1982). But it will not suit the dispassionate seeker-after-knowledge nearly as well as, say, Peter Pringle and James Spiegelman's overlapping The Nuclear Barons (1981).

Pub Date: July 18th, 1983
Publisher: Morrow