Evaluating strategic arms limitation agreements, with applications to the Israeli-Syrian and the North versus South Korean conflicts

Kobi Kagan, Alon Levkowitz, Asher Tishler*, Avi Weiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study evaluates the order of magnitude of the monetary cost of achieving an international strategic limitation agreement on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in an asymmetric arms race, with applications to the Israeli-Syrian and the North versus South Korean conflicts. It extends the Kagan et al. (2005) framework and develops a model of resource allocation between expenditure on civilian government consumption and on security in a non-cooperative (Cournot) arms race between a developed country and a less-developed country. The model is used to predict the optimal mix of weapons of the two countries engaged in the arms race, and to evaluate the applicability of international strategic WMD limitation agreements. Applying the model to the arms race between Israel and Syria shows that if considered from a purely monetary perspective, such an agreement, in which the monetary transfer to Syria is made by either Israel or a third party, is within reach. A strategic agreement to limit North Korea's WMD is also economically feasible, but only when the monetary transfer to North Korea is shouldered by a third party such as the USA or a coalition of neighboring countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-121
Number of pages27
JournalDefence and Peace Economics
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Arms limitation agreements
  • Asymmetric arms race
  • Weapons of mass destruction (WMD)

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