Summary of The Nuclear Tipping Point

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Nuclear Tipping Point book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Visionary


This book stems from a three-year-long collaboration between the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary. Scholars studied eight countries currently committed to nonproliferation - Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan - to determine what scenarios might make them change their minds. The objective was to study how the nuclear genie might get out of the bottle - but it also indicates ways to keep it contained. The book intentionally does not focus on proliferator states, such as North Korea or Iran. Even with that omission, getAbstract recommends it for the stark realities its research uncovers. One is that nonproliferating nations all look to the U.S. for reassurance that the world will stay safe for those without nuclear weapons. Another is that the world must stop Iran and North Korea's atomic ambitions, lest a tipping point occurs that would provoke other nations to conclude that their security requires swinging the biggest stick.

About the Authors

The book's editors are: Kurt M. Campbell, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and the Pacific, and senior vice president and director of international security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation at the Department of State, and a senior advisor in the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Mitchell B. Reiss, former director of the Reves Center for International Studies at the College of William and Mary.



Deliver Us from Evil

Albert Einstein once observed, "It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of men." Nuclear power, Einstein said, changed everything except human thinking, "and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." He likened humanity's wielding of nuclear weapons to a pathological criminal with an axe in his hands. Given that reality, today's nuclear environment is more dangerous than ever. On February 11, 2003, then-CIA Director George Tenet warned the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee, "The desire for nuclear weapons is on the upsurge. Additional countries may decide to seek nuclear weapons as it becomes clear their neighbors and regional rivals are already doing so. The 'domino theory' of the twenty-first century may well be nuclear."

What makes a country spurn the world community to develop nuclear weapons? Is the globe near a "tipping point" where several countries might be tempted to seek nuclear weapons? And, if evil cannot be distilled from the human spirit, how can it at least be discouraged?

The Five Factors

Five general circumstances might push nonnuclear countries to reach for nuclear weapons...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Beyond NATO
Israeli National Security
The End of the Asian Century
The Water Will Come

Related Channels

Comment on this summary