Jonathan R. HuntDec 1, 2022
The Nuclear Club
How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam
Stanford University Press 2022
The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam (Stanford UP, 2022) reveals how a coalition of powerful and developing states embraced global governance in hopes of a bright and peaceful tomorrow. While fears of nuclear war were ever-present, it was the perceived threat to their preeminence that drove Washington, Moscow, and London to throw their weight behind the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) banishing nuclear testing underground, the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco banning atomic armaments from Latin America, and the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbidding more countries from joining the most exclusive club on Earth.
International society, the Cold War, and the imperial U.S. presidency were reformed from 1945 to 1970, when a global nuclear order was inaugurated, averting conflict in the industrial North and yielding what George Orwell styled a "peace that is no peace" everywhere else. Today the nuclear order legitimizes foreign intervention worldwide, empowering the nuclear club and, above all, the United States, to push sanctions and even preventive war against atomic outlaws, all in humanity's name.
Grant Golub is an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a PhD candidate in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses on the politics of American grand strategy during World War II.