The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia

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Edited by Muthiah Alagappa

The Long Shadow is the first comprehensive, systematic examination of the roles and implications of nuclear weapons in the dramatically altered post-Cold War security environment. Leading experts investigate the roles and salience of nuclear weapons in the national security strategies of twelve countries and the ASEAN states, and their implications for security and stability in a broadly defined Asian security region that includes the Middle East. The study also investigates the prospects of nuclear terrorism in Asia. 

A chief conclusion of the study is that nuclear weapons influence national security strategies in fundamental ways and that deterrence continues to be the dominant role and strategy for the deployment of nuclear weapons. Offensive and defensive strategies may increase in salience but will not surpass the deterrence function. Another major conclusion is that although there could be destabilizing situations, on balance nuclear weapons have reinforced security and stability in the Asian region by assuaging national security concerns, strengthening deterrence and the status quo, and preventing the outbreak of major hostilities.

As nuclear weapons will persist and cast a long shadow over security in Asia and the world, it is important to reexamine and redefine "old" ideas, concepts, and strategies and to develop "new" ones relevant to the contemporary era.


Muthiah Alagappa is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the East-West Center.


Publication Year: 2009
592 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-478-4, Paperback

NUS Press