An ounce of prevention—a pound of cure? The reagan administration’s nonproliferation policy and the osirak raid

Giordana Pulcini, Or Rabinowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Israeli raid in June 1981 against the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq has been extensively analyzed by scholars, especially in the context of debate about the efficacy of preemptive strikes against hostile nuclear programs. Yet surprisingly, some important historical questions have been left unanswered: how did the raid affect the Reagan administration’s nuclear nonproliferation policy, and how was the raid perceived by relevant administration officials? How did the United States design its political strategy of response to the raid, and how did this strategy play out at the International Atomic Energy Agency? What does this episode tell us about Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy priorities? By exploring recently declassified documents from several archives around the world, this article addresses all of these questions and, in the process, debunks revisionist myths relating to the raid.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4-40
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Cold War Studies
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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