Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Toward a resource extraction model: Understanding the dynamics of nuclear proliferation through the lens of neoclassical realism
by Bajema, Natasha E., Ph.D., Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), 2010, 476; 3422224
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this dissertation is to ascertain what factors leads some technologically-capable states to develop nuclear weapons while other states refrain from doing so. Given the wide variety of factors that drive the dynamics of nuclear proliferation, this dissertation examines the puzzle through the lens of neoclassical realist theory, which considers the impact of both external and internal variables on state behavior.

This dissertation proposes a model for explaining foreign policy choices—that can be used to expand our understanding of nuclear choices—based on propositions from neorealist, neoclassical realist and state building theory. Building upon Waltz’s theory of neorealism, the model investigates the impact of two variables that intervene between changes in relative power and balancing behavior: perception and domestic structure. To test the validity of the model for explaining both balancing strategies and nuclear choices, this dissertation examines Adenauer’s decision to equip the German military with U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in 1958.

The main finding of this dissertation is that balancing strategies are shaped by how the leaders of states perceive changes in relative power as negatively affecting their position within the international system and by their ability to extract and/or mobilize resources from domestic society—i.e., state power. In order to successfully implement any balancing strategy, leaders must have sufficient ability to make and implement executive decisions, to raise adequate manpower and money for defense purposes, and to tap into the technological and industrial capacity of their state to produce armaments. Interactions between threat perception and state power broadly explain choices between internal and external balancing and nuances in the balancing strategies of states. The choice between conventional and nuclear weapons is shaped by the relative ability of leaders to extract resources for both categories of weapons. Leaders are expected to make choices about expanding their internal military capabilities based on whether they have greater ability to extract resources to build conventional weapons or nuclear weapons.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., Jr.
Commitee: Martel, William C., Potter, William C.
School: Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University)
Department: Diplomacy, History, and Politics
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations, Political science
Keywords: Neoclassical realism, Neorealism, Nuclear proliferation, Nuclear weapons, Tactical nuclear weapons, West Germany
Publication Number: 3422224
ISBN: 9781124209272