The Development of the Arms Race and How We Think About It

Olav Njølstad

in International Relations Since the End of the Cold War

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199666430
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745607 | DOI:
The Development of the Arms Race and How We Think About It

Show Summary Details


This chapter addresses the development of the arms race and how we think about it. It consists of three parts. In part one, the author argues that there is an emerging consensus among the students of arms races on three important points: arms races are caused primarily by inter-state rivalry, are not self-sustained processes immune to political direction, and cannot be either sufficient or necessary causes of war. Part two is devoted to the questions of whether the Cold War was essentially an arms race and, if not, what the US-Soviet military competition was actually about. Finally, in part three, the apparent fading role of arms races in the post-Cold War era is discussed. It is argued that the picture is probably not as bright as it appears to be because inter-state rivalry may no longer be the crucial factor to look for as far as arms races is concerned.

Keywords: arms race theory; Cold War; post-Cold War era; military expenditure; inter-state rivalry; new international security agenda; Southeast Asian arms race; asymmetrical capabilities; weapons of mass destruction

Chapter.  11751 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.