Fire in the East

Fire in the East

Product ID: 2483

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Author: Paul Bracken
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 1999
Language: English
Pages: 186
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0060193441


A stimulating, provocative, informative, and much-needed antidote to the post-cold war mentality of the West. It shatters our complacency and lays down ground rules for intelligent political debate in the new millennium.

The world changed forever on May 11 1998. That was the day India defied the rest of the world by testing nuclear weapons. The Indian test of five atomic bombs, and the Pakistani tests that answered a few weeks later, marked the end of an arms control system that has kept the world from nuclear war for half a century. But much more important, they signal the re-emergence of something the world hasn't seen since the sixteenth century - modern, technologically adept military powers on the mainland of Asia.

In an unbroken crescent stretching six thousand miles from Israel to North Korea, Asian countries are building missiles and topping them with atomic, biological, or chemical warheads. This is a development that cannot help but concern anyone who plans to live in the twenty-first century.

In this book, Professor Bracken:

* reveals new details about the Iraqi missile and biological warfare program, showing how close Israel actually came to a germ attack during the Gulf War.

** explodes the comforting Western belief that globalization will inevitably lead Asian nations into peaceful economic competition. In fact, he says, it works the other way: economic progress both spurs and makes possible the development of weapons of mass destruction.

*** shows how American bases, allies, and interests are increasingly endangered by Asian nationalism.

**** teaches us how to navigate not the post-cold war era, but what he names The Second Nuclear Age.


Paul Bracken has written an important and disturbing book. At a time when it appears that the United States bestrides the world while the nations of Asia are in trouble, he points to a steady and significant shift in the military-technical power balance in Asia's favor. No less than eight Asian nations either have or are striving to possess nuclear weapons and the long-range vehicles to deliver them. Strategic thinkers will benefit from this work but the people who desperately need to read it are those who simply see Asia as a giant trading zone and have never understood its regional rivalries, political ambitions, and growing military capabilities. - - John Le Carre

This sweeping and insightful assessment of the military and technological developments in Asia is provocative and disturbing. It not only expands the scope of how one should think about US strategy and commitments in the Far East, South Asia, and the Middle East, but it also should stir debate about changing security problems that we are unwisely neglecting. - - William E Odom, Lieutenant General USA

A major contribution to what should be an increasingly urgent re-examination of the global security environment for which the US must plan its defense. Bracken argues cogently that American forces and the base structure on which they rely are becoming dangerously inadequate and indeed vulnerable. He shows, wisely if sadly, that international arms control regimes are unlikely to reverse the ominous dynamic. - - Helmut Sonnenfeldt, guest scholar, The Brookings Institution

Paul Bracken argues convincingly that with the cold war over, in large measure, the future of Europe brings us no respite. In the East the nuclear dangers are far more numerous and complex. And they are beginning to metastasize. - - R James Woolsey, former director, Central Intelligence Agency