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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews existing theoretical tools for predicting proliferation or nonproliferation, spanning a range of agents across levels of analysis. It then distills relevant considerations for exploring future scenarios in East Asia. The region provides a good laboratory for understanding failed past predictions and for identifying conditions for potential transformations of its nuclear order. The final section extracts lessons for relying on cutting edge scholarship to map out proliferation futures. A promising research agenda attentive to complex systemic effects, dynamics of the global economy, regime survival, norm,s and institutions has replaced older accounts. Yet a unified field theory capable of predicting proliferation may not be in our grasp.

Keywords: nuclear proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, prediction, forecasting, North Korea, East Asia

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