Kareem Kamel


This research attempts to offer a multivariate explanation for the decisions of Israel and India to build nuclear weapons and deploy them, and their choice of nuclear strategy by ‘theorizing’ the largely descriptive but undertheorized literature on the topic. It focuses on the formative period of each country’s nuclear program during which time its nuclear program was set on track. The major aim of the work is to open the ‘black box’ of nuclear politics and shed light on the anomalies in the nuclear decisions of both countries, that are not adequately addressed by the security model and its accompanying principles of state rationality. This thesis will argue that while the nuclear decisions of both countries have been, no doubt, shaped by its strategic threat perceptions, two other variables played, to different degrees, an important role in nuclear proliferation: the attitudinal prisms of its chief nuclear decision-makers in relation to their perceptions of ‘national interest’, ‘science’, ‘modernity’ and ‘prestige’ and chief bureaucrats residing over key scientific establishments. In order to account for the reasons behind key nuclear decisions, three theoretical models were used: the security perspective with its focus on strategic threat perceptions, the cognitive approach to decision-making with vii its emphasis on the attitudinal prisms of decision-makers, and the bureaucratic approach with its ability to account for the pulling and hauling that is characteristic of bureaucratic politics. Finally, the thesis comparatively evaluated the Israeli and Indian cases of proliferation and related them to other cases of proliferation and non-proliferation in the third world.


Political Science Department

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

Date of Award


Online Submission Date

February 2013

First Advisor

De Mars, William

Committee Member 1

Korany, Bahgat

Committee Member 2

Lang, Anthony

Document Type



153 p.


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