Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Alvin Potter

International Relations

"Preventive Force and Nuclear Proliferation: Playing with Matches?"

Does preventive military conflict act as a successful technique in stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons? History shows that force has been used in a variety of ways to physically halt or slow the proliferation of nuclear weapons; however, larger strategic questions related to this practice have been understudied. In some cases, evidence suggests preventive acts of force against would be nuclear states has deterred other potential proliferators, while other observations show the opposite. This study attempts to more fully understand the impact of preventive conflict against nuclear weapons programs and its influence on the overall nonproliferation regime.