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Arms Control


The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order

The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order Lowest new price: $14.34
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Author: Sean McFate
Brand: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS ACADEM

It was 2004, and Sean McFate had a mission in Burundi: to keep the president alive and prevent the country from spiraling into genocide, without anyone knowing that the United States was involved. The United States was, of course, involved, but only through McFate's employer, the military contractor DynCorp International. Throughout the world, similar scenarios are playing out daily. The United States can no longer go to war without contractors. Yet we don't know much about the industry's structure, its operations, or where it's heading. Typically led by ex-military men, contractor firms are by their very nature secretive. Even the U.S. government-the entity that actually pays them-knows relatively little.

In The Modern Mercenary, Sean McFate lays bare this opaque world, explaining the economic structure of the industry and showing in detail how firms operate on the ground. A former U.S. Army paratrooper and private military contractor, McFate provides an unparalleled perspective into the nuts and bolts of the industry, as well as a sobering prognosis for the future of war. While at present, the U.S. government and U.S. firms dominate the market, private military companies are emerging from other countries, and warlords and militias have restyled themselves as private security companies in places like Afghanistan and Somalia. To understand how the proliferation of private forces may influence international relations, McFate looks back to the European Middle Ages, when mercenaries were common and contract warfare the norm. He concludes that international relations in the twenty-first century may have more in common with the twelfth century than the twentieth. This "back to the future" situation, which he calls "neomedievalism," is not necessarily a negative condition, but it will produce a global system that contains rather than solves problems.

The Modern Mercenary is the first work that combines a broad-ranging theory of the phenomenon with an insider's understanding of what the world of the private military industry is actually like.

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  • OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS ACADEM

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Sexed Pistols: The Gendered Impacts of Small Arms and Light Weapons

Sexed Pistols: The Gendered Impacts of Small Arms and Light Weapons Lowest new price: $43.00
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Brand: Brand: United Nations University Press


Every day, small arms and light weapons (SALW) kill, wound, and threaten millions of adults and children. Due to their widespread availability, mobility, and ease of use, prolific SALW have become central to maintaining social dislocation, destabilization, insecurity, and crime in the build-up to war, during wartime, and in the aftermath of conflict. Small arms are misused within domestic settings, as well as in public spaces, affecting everyone in the community without regard to sex or age.


The impact of these weapons can be vastly different for women and men and for girls and boys. However, careful consideration of gender and age is rare in the formulation of small arms policy, of planning small arms collection or control, or even in small arms research. To counter the effects of prolific SALW, their role in gender- and age-specific violence must be more deeply analyzed and the results applied at the policy and operational level. This work should be undertaken in war-afflicted contexts, in societies suffering from elevated levels of social violence and / or severe underdevelopment, and in those tolerant of the presence of individually owned firearms.


Contributors to the book draw on experience and research from around the world on the nexus of gender, age, violence, and small arms in developing and developed countries. They provide a number of recommendations for policies, programs, and research designed to further illuminate and counteract the firing of the "sexed pistol."


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Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War Lowest new price: $11.40
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Brand: New Press

In November 1983, Soviet nuclear forces went on high alert. After months nervously watching increasingly assertive NATO military posturing, Soviet intelligence agencies in Western Europe received flash telegrams reporting alarming activity on U.S. bases. In response, the Soviets began planning for a countdown to a nuclear first strike by NATO on Eastern Europe. And then Able Archer 83, a vast NATO war game exercise that modeled a Soviet attack on NATO allies, ended.

What the West didn’t know at the time was that the Soviets thought Operation Able Archer 83 was real and were actively preparing for a surprise missile attack from NATO. This close scrape with Armageddon was largely unknown until last October when the U.S. government released a ninety-four-page presidential analysis of Able Archer that the National Security Archive had spent over a decade trying to declassify. Able Archer 83 is based upon more than a thousand pages of declassified documents that archive staffer Nate Jones has pried loose from several U.S. government agencies and British archives, as well as from formerly classified Soviet Politburo and KGB files, vividly recreating the atmosphere that nearly unleashed nuclear war.

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The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present

The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to the Present Lowest new price: $37.35
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Author: Micheline Ishay
Brand: Brand: Routledge

The second edition of The Human Rights Reader presents a dramatically revised organization and updated selections, including pieces on globalization and the war on terrorism. Each part of the Reader corresponds to five historical phases in the history of human rights and explores for each the arguments, debates, and issues of inclusiveness central to those eras. This edition is the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of essays, speeches, and documents from historical and contemporary sources, all of which are now placed in context with Micheline Ishay’s substantial introduction to the reader as a whole and valuable introductions to each part and chapter.

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Nuclear Terrorism: Countering the Threat (Routledge Global Security Studies)

Nuclear Terrorism: Countering the Threat (Routledge Global Security Studies) Lowest new price: $132.00
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This volume aims to improve understanding of nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism.

Nuclear terrorism is perceived as one of the most immediate and extreme threats to global security today. While the international community has made important progress in securing fissile material, there are still important steps to be made with nearly 2,000 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear material spread around the globe. The volume addresses this complex phenomenon through an interdisciplinary approach: legal, criminal, technical, diplomatic, cultural, economic, and political. Despite this cross-disciplinary approach, however, the chapters are all linked by the overarching aim of enhancing knowledge of nuclear security and the prevention of nuclear terrorism. The volume aims to do this by investigating the different types of nuclear terrorism, and subsequently discussing the potential means to prevent these malicious acts. In addition, there is a discussion of the nuclear security regime, in general, and an important examination of both its strengths and weaknesses. In summary, the book aims to extend the societal and political debate about the threat of nuclear terrorism.

This book will be of much interest to students of nuclear proliferation, nuclear governance, terrorism studies, international organizations, and security studies in general.


War Dogs

War Dogs Lowest new price: $2.50
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Author: Guy Lawson

Soon to be a major motion picture from the director of The Hangover starring Jonah Hill, the page-turning, behind-closed-doors account of how three kids from Florida became big-time weapons traders for the government and how the Pentagon later turned on them.

In January of 2007, three young stoners from Miami Beach were put in charge of a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Instead of fulfilling the order with high-quality arms, Efraim Diveroli, David Packouz, and Alex Podrizki (the dudes) bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners. The trio then secretly repackaged millions of rounds of shoddy Chinese ammunition and shipped it to Kabul—until they were caught by Pentagon investigators and the scandal turned up on the front page of The New York Times.

That’s the “official” story. The truth is far more explosive. For the first time, journalist Guy Lawson tells the thrilling true tale. It’s a trip that goes from a dive apartment in Miami Beach to mountain caves in Albania, the corridors of power in Washington, and the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawson’s account includes a shady Swiss gunrunner, Russian arms dealers, Albanian thugs, and a Pentagon investigation that caused ammunition shortages for the Afghanistan military. Lawson exposes the mysterious and murky world of global arms dealing, showing how the American military came to use private contractors like Diveroli, Packouz, and Podrizki as middlemen to secure weapons from illegal arms dealers—the same men who sell guns to dictators, warlords, and drug traffickers.

This is a story you were never meant to read.

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Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World

Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World Lowest new price: $58.68
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Author: Gordon G. Chang
Brand: Random House

“If we lose, I will destroy the world,” said Kim Jong Il, supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Kim’s regime insults all of us. Its very existence is an affront to humanity’s sense of decency and challenges accepted notions of politics, economics, and social theory. More important, North Korea threatens us.

The Great Leader, as Kim now calls himself, can change the course of history with an act of unimaginable devastation. He possesses an arsenal of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. Today he can hit most of the continent of Asia and even parts of the American homeland. In a few years–probably by the end of this decade–the diminutive despot will cast his shadow across the globe: He will be able to land a nuke on any point on the planet.

Even now, everyone is at risk. North Korea has said it might sell weapons to others, thereby making itself the first “nuclear Kmart.” Who wants to live in a world where anyone with enough cash and a pickup truck can incinerate a city?

For six decades, America has tried every tactic to stop Kim’s Korea, but it has failed each time. The current approach–providing aid and assurances of security in return for an end to weapons programs–mimics the failed diplomacy of the 1990s. Negotiations, sponsored by China, have yet to produce an enduring solution.

Unfortunately, Kim has paid no price for destabilizing the global order. In fact, many countries, including America, reward him for his fundamental challenge to the international system. Perhaps that is why the world is now further away from a solution to the Korean nuclear crisis than it was a decade ago.

In a contest that will be decided by finesse more than power, Kim is winning. If he ultimately prevails–and time is running out for Washington–his success will probably result in a quick erosion of American power. The world’s strongest nation does not have much of a future if it cannot defend its most vital interests against a reviled autocrat like Kim from a small country like North Korea.

The current conflict with Kim Jong Il is a crisis like no other, perhaps the twenty-first century’s moment of greatest consequence. This is where the world writes its history for the next hundred years. Nuclear Showdown is the first and only major study to look at all dimensions of this crisis. Gordon G. Chang proposes solutions that go beyond the conventional suggestions seen elsewhere.

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Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible Lowest new price: $6.40
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Author: Stephen Braun
Brand: Farah, Douglas/ Braun, Stephen

Praise for Merchant of Death

""A riveting investigation of the world's most notorious arms dealer--a page-turner that digs deep into the amazing, murky story of Viktor Bout. Farah and Braun have exposed the inner workings of one of the world's most secretive businesses--the international arms trade.""
—Peter L. Bergen, author of The Osama bin Laden I Know

""Viktor Bout is like Osama bin Laden: a major target of U.S. intelligence officials who time and again gets away. Farah and Braun have skillfully documented how this notorious arms dealer has stoked violence around the world and thwarted international sanctions. Even more appalling, they show how Bout ended up getting millions of dollars in U.S. government money to assist the war in Iraq. A truly impressive piece of investigative reporting.""
—Michael Isikoff, coauthor of Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War

""Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun are two of the toughest investigative reporters in the country. This is an important book about a hidden world of gunrunning and profiteering in some of the world's poorest countries.""
—Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001

""In Merchant of Death, two of America's finest reporters have performed a major public service, turning over the right rocks that reveal the brutal international arms business at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In Viktor Bout, they have given us a new Lord of War, a man who knows no side but his own, and who has a knack for turning up in every war zone just in time to turn a profit. As Farah and Braun uncover and document his troubling role in the Bush Administration's Global War on Terror, his ties to Washington almost seem inevitable.""
—James Risen, author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

""An extraordinary and timely piece of investigative reporting, Merchant of Death is also a vividly compelling read. The true story of Viktor Bout, a sociopathic Russian gunrunner who has supplied weapons for use in some of the most gruesome conflicts of modern times--and who can count amongst his clients both the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the U.S. military in Iraq--is a stomach-churning indictment of the policy failures and moral contradictions of the world's most powerful governments, including that of the United States.""
—Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad

Two respected journalists tell the incredible story of Viktor Bout, the Russian weapons supplier whose global network has changed the way modern warfare is fought. Bout’s vast enterprise of guns, planes, and money has fueled internecine slaughter in Africa and aided both militant Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan and the American military in Iraq. This book combines spy thrills with crucial insights on the shortcomings of a U.S. foreign policy that fails to confront the lucrative and lethal arms trade that erodes global security.

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Hacking the Bomb: Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons

Hacking the Bomb: Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons Lowest new price: $17.00
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Author: Andrew Futter

Are nuclear arsenals safe from cyber-attack? Could terrorists launch a nuclear weapon through hacking? Are we standing at the edge of a major technological challenge to global nuclear order? These are among the many pressing security questions addressed in Andrew Futter's ground-breaking study of the cyber threat to nuclear weapons.

Hacking the Bomb provides the first ever comprehensive assessment of this worrying and little-understood strategic development, and it explains how myriad new cyber challenges will impact the way that the world thinks about and manages the ultimate weapon. The book cuts through the hype surrounding the cyber phenomenon and provides a framework through which to understand and proactively address the implications of the emerging cyber-nuclear nexus. It does this by tracing the cyber challenge right across the nuclear weapons enterprise, explains the important differences between types of cyber threats, and unpacks how cyber capabilities will impact strategic thinking, nuclear balances, deterrence thinking, and crisis management. The book makes the case for restraint in the cyber realm when it comes to nuclear weapons given the considerable risks of commingling weapons of mass disruption with weapons of mass destruction, and argues against establishing a dangerous norm of "hacking the bomb."

This timely book provides a starting point for an essential discussion about the challenges associated with the cyber-nuclear nexus, and will be of great interest to scholars and students of security studies as well as defense practitioners and policy makers.

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Building Militaries in Fragile States: Challenges for the United States

Building Militaries in Fragile States: Challenges for the United States Lowest new price: $63.56
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Author: Mara E. Karlin

Combining rigorous academic scholarship with the experience of a senior Pentagon policymaker, Mara E. Karlin explores the key national security issue of our time: how to effectively build partner militaries. Given the complex and complicated global security environment, declining U.S. defense budgets, and an increasingly connected (and often unstable) world, the United States has an ever-deepening interest in strengthening fragile states. Particularly since World War II, it has often chosen to do so by strengthening partner militaries. It will continue to do so, Karlin predicts, given U.S. sensitivity to casualties, a constrained fiscal environment, the nature of modern nationalism, increasing transnational security threats, the proliferation of fragile states, and limits on U.S. public support for military interventions. However, its record of success is thin.

While most analyses of these programs focus on training and equipment, Building Militaries in Fragile States argues that this approach is misguided. Instead, given the nature of a fragile state, Karlin homes in on the outsized roles played by two key actors: the U.S. military and unhelpful external actors. With a rich comparative case-study approach that spans Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Karlin unearths provocative findings that suggest the traditional way of working with foreign militaries needs to be rethought. Benefiting from the practical eye of an experienced national security official, her results-based exploration suggests new and meaningful findings for building partner militaries in fragile states.

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