Vol. 4 No. 3 (2016): CISS Insight Quarterly Journal, Sep 2016
Book Reviews

John Mueller, Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism To Al-Qaeda

Muhammad Faisal
Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS)
Published September 29, 2016
How to Cite
Muhammad Faisal. (2016). John Mueller, Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism To Al-Qaeda . CISS Insight Journal, 4(3), P 47 - 49. Retrieved from https://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/76


Dawn of nuclear age set in an ‘obsession’ with nuclear weapons leading to charting of unwise policies with potentially destructive consequences. Historical record, of past decades, informs us that, the US policy-makers and their allies in the scientific community have exaggerated destructive abilities of the bomb. Yet, nuclear weapons have not been the cause of historical events during the Cold War and in subsequent years. Impact of nuclear weapons and the technology have in fact been mostly ‘irrelevant’ in the larger framework of international system, yet they have had deep influence in shaping thinking of the policymakers. And, it, argues John Mueller, is the ultimate dogma that has held the US nuclear policy hostage for over fifty years.

Divided into three sections, spread over fifteen chapters, Atomic Obsession deconstructs several myths and assumptions associated with impact of nuclear weapons on policy making, spread of nuclear technology and possibilities of nuclear terrorism. The author examines the fundamental belief systems underpinning the nuclear-arms enterprise in some detail. Without mincing words, Mueller, is of the view that destructive power of nuclear weapons have been vastly exaggerated. Their role in his opinion in bringing, an end to World-War II was insignificant as Germany had already surrendered and Japan would have surrendered in few weeks; and, the US and Soviet Union exhausted from the Second World War would never have gone to another war even in the absence of nuclear deterrence.