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  BOOK REVIEW Décor and decorum China and Global Nuclear Order: From Estrangement to Active Engagement, Nicola Horsburgh (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015), 272 pages, $68.60 (ebook), $96.00 (hardcover).
  Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at The Nonproliferation Review ISSN: 1073-6700 (Print) 1746-1766 (Online) Journal homepage: Décor and decorum  James J. Wirtz To cite this article:  James J. Wirtz (2019): Décor and decorum, The Nonproliferation Review, DOI:10.1080/10736700.2019.1667055 To link to this article: Published online: 08 Oct 2019.Submit your article to this journal View related articles View Crossmark data  BOOK REVIEW Décor and decorum China and Global Nuclear Order: From Estrangement to Active Engagement  , NicolaHorsburgh (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015), 272 pages, $68.60 (ebook),$96.00 (hardcover). Although scholars working in the  fi elds of international relations and security studies encoun-ter their fair share of ill-de fi ned or disputed concepts, few are as nebulous as the notion of  “ nuclear order. ”  The way the concept is de fi ned and used varies with the theoretical andpolicy predilections of the author. Realists, as expected, see the order as a re fl ection of power, manifested as a division between nuclear  “ haves and have-nots, ”  formal arms-control treaties, and deterrence relationships. Constructivists, by contrast, tend to see thenuclear order in a way that harkens back to that classic de fi nition of regimes as  “ norms,rules and decision-making procedures around which actors ’  expectations converge in agiven area of international relations. ” 1 Sometimes, the term  “ nuclear order ”  serves as a sortof shorthand to identify the nuclear  problematique  of the moment, i.e., whether or notnuclear deterrence, proliferation, or disarmament is the issue of the day.Nicola Horsburgh delves into this theoretical morass only to surface with a conception of nuclear order that re fl ects both the décor and decorum of global nuclear politics. The conceptre fl ects décor in the sense that it describes the international setting  — the issues, actors, strat-egies, force structures, and politics — that de fi nes the realm of nuclear matters in internationalrelations. The concept also re fl ects international decorum by re fl ecting what constitutesexpected, or at least unacceptable, actions relating to nuclear weapons. Violations of thisdecorum do not go unnoticed by nuclear or even non-nuclear states. As a result, one can bea participant in or a target of the international nuclear order. Horsburgh suggests thatChina has found itself in both positions.Horsburgh uses the concept of nuclear order to organize her survey of the history of China ’ srise as a nuclear power. Nuclear order, it appears, is more tangible when you have no in fl uencein shaping it, and the People ’ s Republic was a nuclear outcast from 1949 to 1964, the  fi rstperiod she surveys. Loose talk about nuclear weapons and paper tigers and Beijing  ’ s e ff  ortsto acquire nuclear weapons made US, Soviet, South Korean, and Japanese o ffi cials nervous.China also bucked growing superpower resistance to nuclear proliferation by advancing thenotion of   “ socialist proliferation. ”  In Beijing  ’ s view, proliferation was actually positive whenundertaken by communist states and would ultimately end in disarmament following thedestruction of capitalism, the defeat of imperialism, and the establishment of the global com-munist nirvana. Once China acquired a primitive nuclear capability, however, Mao Zedung and his colleagues evidenced more discretion. Between 1964 and 1976, talk about papertigers and socialist proliferation ended as Chinese o ffi cials recognized that they were passing through a  “ window of vulnerability. ”  Support for more accepted nonproliferation principlesand statements about China ’ s  “ minimal ”  nuclear objectives signaled that Beijing wasseeking acceptance as part of the existing nuclear order in an e ff  ort to reduce the risk thatothers might launch a preventive nuclear attack to destroy their nuclear enterprise. For 1 Stephen D. Krasner,  “ Structural Causes and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables, ”  International Organization , Vol. 36, No. 2 (1982), p. 186. NONPROLIFERATION REVIEW  years, Beijing attempted to  fl y under the radar, so to speak, so that the superpowers could grow accustomed to a new addition to the nuclear club.By the time the Ronald Reagan administration gained o ffi ce, enduring trends had takenhold in China ’ s nuclear policies. Beijing pursued modest force modernization and growth,which re fl ected the judgment that more ambitious programs would spark a reaction by thesuperpowers. China also increasingly engaged the international institutions that constitutedthe basis of the nuclear order by participating in the Conference on Disarmament, by signing the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and by placing its civi-lian nuclear programs under International Atomic Agency Safeguards. Beijing actually came todepend on this international order; the end of the US-Soviet 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a matter of deep concern because it upset the planning assumptions behind its objective of maintaining a modest nuclear capability. China and Global Nuclear Order   thus makes an important contribution to our understand-ing of the behavior of nascent nuclear-weapon states in general, and China as a nuclear actor inparticular. As a non-nuclear state with nuclear aspirations, China not only opposed the nuclearorder as a form of oppression of the weak by the strong, but was also identi fi ed as a problem tobe contained by the superpowers. As a nuclear state, however, China at  fi rst did nothing toupset the order before slowly embracing it. Horsburgh ’ s analysis suggests that nuclearweapons moderate the behavior of policy makers; respecting the decorum demanded by thenuclear order is the price of admission to the nuclear club. Horsburgh cannot explainexactly how this process of socialization takes place, but it is clear that the Chinese workeddiligently to develop the analytical and diplomatic expertise to participate constructively inthe nuclear order.Horsburgh leaves the reader with the observation that most analysts have paid too littleattention to how China ’ s interaction with the institutions, practices, and actors that populatethe nuclear order shaped its approach to its own nuclear enterprise. It is also clear, however,that China ’ s future nuclear posture, especially in relation to the scope and pace of its nuclearmodernization program and its nuclear declaratory policies, may have a signi fi cant in fl uenceon the future state of global nuclear matters. If Beijing conducts itself with moderation andhelps to contain North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions, then it can  “ lean in one direc-tion, ”  as they say in Beijing, reinforcing the nonproliferation and disarmament elements of thenuclear order. If China leans in the other direction, then it could just as easily produce signi fi -cant pressures for other nuclear and even non-nuclear states to increase the role of nuclearweapons in their defense policies.James J. Wirtz This work was authored as part of the Contributor ’ s of  fi cial duties as an Employee of the United StatesGovernment and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105,no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law. 2 BOOK REVIEW
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