On May 11, 1998, India began testing nuclear weapons.
The world will never be the same.
The Indian test of five atomic bombs, and the Pakistani tests that answered a few weeks later, marked the end of the arms control system that has kept the world from nuclear war for half a century. As Paul Bracken, professor of management and political science at Yale University, explains in this landmark study, they signal the reemergence of something the world hasn't seen since the sixteenth century-modern technologically adept military powers on the mainland of Asia.
In Fire in the East, Professor Bracken reveals several alarming trends and secrets, such as how close Isreal actually came to a germ warfare attack during the Gulf War, why "globalization" will spur the development of weapons of mass destruction, how American interests are endangered by Asian nationalism, and how to navigate what he names the second nuclear age. Fire in the East is a provocative account of how the Western monopoly on modern arms is coming to an end, and how it will forever transform America's role on the stage of international politics.
"A multipolar balance of terror stretches over a six-thousand-mile arc, comprising some of the most unstable countries on earth." Such ominous phrases abound in this alarming vision of the post-Cold War geopolitical landscape. Yale political scientist Bracken (Command and Control of Nuclear Forces) takes the 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan as his cue to make an argument that the nuclear genie is out of the bottle. Increased cash reserves brought about by the global economy enable governments to buy nuclear technology; therefore, in the 21st century, Asian nations will be able to achieve a measure of military parity with the West not seen for half a millennium. Parts of the book get rather technical, as Bracken addresses military strategy and takes interesting digressions into Asian military history. However, whether he's writing about the oil-rich but politically unstable Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union or more traditional Asian powers such as China and India, Bracken always returns to his theme that the days when the West was the dominant military power in Asia (a period that stretches from the beginning of European colonialism to today's American military hegemony) are numbered. While very clear and persuasive in making his case that the availability of nuclear weapons will change the Asian geopolitical landscape and the relationship between the West and Asia, Bracken is less clear about what the West should do to manage this inevitable shift. He does clearly outline the options (arms control, balance-of-power diplomacy among them), and his book stands as a sobering reminder that economic globalization is as likely to give rise to geopolitical tension as it is to peace and prosperity.