Preventive War and the Spread of Nuclear Programs Chapter uri icon


  • This chapter contributes to ongoing debates about the consequences of nuclear proliferation by analyzing the connection between nuclear programs and preventive war. Does the pursuit of nuclear weapons increase the likelihood of preventive military force? If so, under what conditions? In this chapter, I provide answers to these questions. To begin, I raise further awareness about the targeting of nuclear programs by surveying historical cases in which countries have bombed or considered bombing nuclear facilities. Although attacks of this nature are relatively rare, countries have seriously considered using military force to delay proliferation on a number of occasions. I subsequently offer an explanation for why states strike, or consider striking, based on existing scholarly research. In the end, the evidence presented here supports the view that preventive war is a potential danger associated with the spread of nuclear programs that policy makers and scholars should take seriously.

author list (cited authors)

  • Fuhrmann, M. C.

complete list of authors

  • Fuhrmann, MC

editor list (cited editors)

  • Sokolski, H.

Book Title

  • Moving Beyond Pretense: Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation

publication date

  • June 2014