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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: December 2019

5 - Nuclear Weapons Law and the Cold War and Post–Cold War Worlds: a Story of Co-production

from Part II - The Generative/Productive Cold War


This chapter is concerned with exploring the mutually constitutive character of the international law of nuclear weapons, and the Cold War and post–Cold War environs in which that law was to be developed. In one direction it is argued that a consensual treaty-based system of law-making prevailed during the Cold War, which shifted to a system of Security Council legislation in the post-Cold War era, and that this reflected a parallel shift from a multipolar to a unipolar geopolitics. In another direction, however, it is also argued that the international law of nuclear weaponry also contributed to the production of its own political environs by both legitimating the possession of nuclear weaponry and controlling its spread.

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