Book Review: Stephen J. Cimbala, War Games: US—Russian Relations and Nuclear Arms Control

Published date01 July 2016
Date01 July 2016
AuthorHaseeb Cheerathadayan
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 323
The regional stability of the CA states would depend on the relation between
states within CA and higher level of interstate cooperation. The weakest aspect of
the regional stability is the absence of deeper intra-regional cooperation. So the
CA states have to engage with each other bilaterally to develop strong mutual trust
to face internal and external threats in the region. Considering this factor, the book
analyses the involvement of super and regional powers in the CA region and CA
states response to it. It marks an important contribution to the existing literature
on the subject. The volume provides a well-argued analysis of geopolitics in
Central Asia. The book is useful for policy makers, academia and students.
Phool Badan
Russian and Central Asian Studies,
School of International Studies,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi,
Stephen J. Cimbala, War Games: US—Russian Relations and Nuclear Arms
Control (Boulder, CO, US: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc., 2017), pp. 278.
US$ 75.
DOI: 10.1177/0020881718759737
While working on the Manhattan Project in remote New Mexico, Oppenheimer
and his colleagues, of course, must have known the catastrophe, a nuclear detona-
tion, can be produced, but perhaps did not realize the reaching political conse-
quences which their innovation will create in future. Stephen J. Cimbala maintains
that nuclear disarmament is a relevant, serious but not an unresolvable issue, by
centring his arguments around and against ‘conventional wisdom’, which says that
nuclear arms control is politically impossible, unnecessary, strategically misguided
and a fool’s errand.
Stephen J. Cimbala is a distinguished professor of political science at Penn State
Brandywine and former consultant on arms control to various US government agen-
cies. He has written extensively on nuclear issues and Cold War since the beginning
of his academic career. Apart from the fact that the current book War Games has a
fascinating title, the most intriguing aspect is that Cimbala’s prediction, that is, end
of the second decade of the twenty-first century, will see the onset of third of the
three nuclear ages he mentions in his book Arms for Uncertainty in 2013 and show
signs of becoming a reality, after the Crimean Crisis of 2014–2015.
In the fourteen chapters, the major discussion covers the spectrum of moderni-
zation of nuclear weapons, and the parallel offensive in cyberspace that will
undoubtedly accompany an offensive against computer-dependent adversaries
like the USA and Russia. How these new technologies affect theoretical deploy-
ment and use of nuclear weapons and the non-proliferation discussion are some of
the major contributions of this work.

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