Preventing Catastrophe


Preventing Catastrophe is written by two authors who are experienced “Washington hands” and who understand the interplay between intelligence and policymaking. Both have been personally involved, in the United States and overseas, in pursuing national and international measures to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Their extensive experience is evident in this book, which puts the Iraqi WMD issue in proper perspective, explains the challenge of monitoring small clandestine programs, and explains how the effort to prevent terrorist acquisition and use of WMD differs from preventing their acquisition and use by nation states.

At the same time, the authors are able to make a complex subject understandable to non-technical experts, making this book a useful teaching tool, especially for those who have little or no knowledge or experience in US national security decision making.

“National intelligence and international inspections are necessary to create confidence that violations of non-proliferation commitments are detected in time to permit appropriate action. Both must be pursued with professionalism and critical minds avoiding poor intelligence or cosmetic inspections. The issues studied thoroughly and with good judgment in this welcome volume by Graham and Hansen were intensely controversial in the case of Iraq but remain central to international counter-proliferation efforts.”—Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission

“The authors both have extensive experience int he arms control community, and it shows in a book that is very basic in its approach to intelligence but assumes the reader has some knowledge of the WMD, especially nuclear weapons technology.”

—J. Fields, Choice.

“Preventing Catastrophe provides a good summary of US successes and failures, While its style and structure make it suitable for students and journalists who want to become better acquainted with the issue, it is also precise, balanced and carefully written analysis of a complex problem.”


“National intelligence and international inspections are necessary to create confidence that violations of non-proliferation commitments are detected in time to permit appropriate action. Both must be pursued with professionalism and critical minds avoiding poor intelligence or cosmetic inspections. The issues studied thoroughly and with good judgment in this welcome volume by Graham and Hansen were intensely controversial in the case of Iraq but remain central to international counter-proliferation efforts.”

—Hans Blix, Executive Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission

“In this excellent presentation, the authors establish that the threat posed by terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction is not a cohesive problem calling for a single defensive strategy, but a series of discrete challenges requiring diverse responses. This is recommended reading based on the authors’ personal experiences and years of participation in international arms control negotiations.”

—Robert Huffstutler, Executive Director (Retired), Central Intelligence Agency

“Graham and Hansen’s book is an important contribution to understanding intelligence and counter-proliferation— and why terrorist use of nuclear weapons is a real concern. There is a lack of expertise on this issue both inside and outside the government. Monitoring foreign weapons programs is essential, but understanding the motives and objectives of proliferators is even more critical. Intelligence, however, cannot stand by itself; there must also be clear and sound policy.”

—Richard Kerr, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

“Graham and Hansen’s important new study should correct the false impression that US intelligence services get it mostly wrong when assessing the danger of nuclear weapon programs. The true story of how our analysts get it mostly right will help policymakers understand that recent distortions came from the top, not the bottom, and help the public understand the crucial role intelligence plays in preventing these threats.”

—Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares

About the authors

Thomas Graham Jr. served for nearly three decades as general counsel as well as acting director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He was President Clinton’s Special Representative for arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament, with the rank of ambassador. Keith A. Hansen served in the course of three decades on various strategic arms control delegations (SALT II, INF, and CTBT), where he concentrated on verification issues as an expert on strategic nuclear force issues.

Thomas Graham Jr. with Keith Hanson 
Preventing Catastrophe: 
The Use & Misuse of Weapons of Mass Destruction 
Stanford, CA: Stanford U P, 2009.
Web. 28 May 2015. [ISBN 9780804763608]

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Spy Satellites

Spy Satellites and Other Technologies that Have Changed the Course of History


Much has been said and written about the failure of U.S. intelligence to prevent the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and its overestimation of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein. This book focuses instead on the central role that intelligence-collection systems play in promoting arms control and disarmament.

Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. and Keith Hansen bring more than fifty combined years of experience to this discussion of the capabilities of technical systems, which are primarily based in space. Their history of the rapid advancement of surveillance technology is a window into a dramatic reconceptualization of Cold War strategies and policy planning. Graham and Hansen focus on the intelligence successes against Soviet strategic nuclear forces and the quality of the intelligence that has made possible accurate assessments of WMD programs in North Korea, Iran, and Libya. Their important insights shed a much-needed light on the process of verifying how the world harnesses the proliferation of nuclear arms and the continual drive for advancements in technology.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS GRAHAM JR. is chairman of the Cypress Fund for Peace and Security in Washington, D.C. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for fifteen years and was President Clinton’s special assistant for arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament. KEITH HANSEN is consulting professor in international relations at Stanford University and has spent thirty-five years in US national security deliberations and strategic nuclear arms control negotiations.

“Authors Graham and Hansen have done a superior job of explaining the contributions of intelligence to strategic arms control, the downfall of the Soviet Union, and the continuing contribution to our national security. The book is a tribute to those men and women who toiled long and hard to develop sophisticated collection systems and, likewise, those analysts who turned the collected data into useable intelligence.”
-Evan Hineman, Evan Hineman

“Based on three decades of their involvement in the front lines of arms control negotiations, Graham and Hansen are superbly qualified to analyze the critical role of satellites in space and other national technical means in monitoring compliance with arms control treaties. They do that very well in this short and authoritative book that takes the reader on an informative tour of the broad repertoire of treaties that were designed to meet requirements for effective verification and that helped stabilize the U.S.-Soviet confrontation during the Cold War.”
-Sidney Drell, Hoover Institution and Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

“I could not imagine two authors better experienced to tell this important story, and to continue to tell it in more detail as declassification permits. Likewise, it is hard to come up with a better example of how good intelligence can generate the transparency which defined U.S. and Soviet stability in the latter part of the twentieth century.”
-William O. Studeman, William O. Studeman


Thomas Graham Jr. with Keith Hansen
Spy Satellites and Other Technologies 

that Have Changed the Course of History 
Seattle: U of Washington P, 2007.
Web. 28 May 2015. [ISBN 0-295-986868-7]

Unending Crisis

GrahamBook#6UnendingImageIn Unending Crisis, Thomas Graham Jr. examines the second Bush administration’s misguided management of foreign policy, the legacy of which has been seven major – and almost irresolvable – national security crises involving North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, and nuclear proliferation. Unending Crisis considers these issues individually and together, emphasizing their interrelationship and delineating the role that the neoconservative agenda played in redefining the way America is perceived in the world today.

As a U.S. ambassador, THOMAS GRAHAM JR. was involved in the negotiation of major arms control agreements over the course of nearly 30 years. His publications include Common Sense on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Cornerstones of Security: Arms Control Treaties in the Nuclear Era, Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law, and Spy Satellites and Other Intelligence Technologies That Changed History.

“A concise, well-written, and thoroughly documented account of how our country lost its moorings over the last decade, Unending Crisisis a must read for all concerned about the role of the United States in a changing world.”
-Lt. General (USA Ret.) Robert Gard, former president of the National Defense University

“A book of solid good sense and keen vision from one of our most experienced, dedicated diplomats.”
-Richard Rhodes, author of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bombm and The Twilight of the Bombs

“Ambassador Graham has written an authoritative and detailed account of the tortuous international negotiations over nuclear policy and how opportunities were squandered.”
-General Lord Charles Guthrie, former chief of the UK Defense Staff

“Political leaders and all those seeking to understand the complex history of nuclear diplomacy and attempts to limit the proliferation of weapons should read this book.”
-Sir Ronald Grierson, chairman, Blackstone International Advisory Board

Thomas Graham Jr.
Unending Crisis: 
National Security Policy after 9/11 
Seattle: U of Washington P, 2012.
Web. 28 May 2015. [ISBN-10: 0295991704]


Cornerstones of Security

Cornerstones & Security: Arms Control & International Law in a Nuclear Era

GrahamBook#2CornerstoneImageThis anthology presents the complete text of thirty-four treaties that have effectively contained the spread of nuclear, biological, and conventional weapons during the Cold War and beyond. The treaties are placed in historical context by individual commentaries from noted authorities Thomas Graham Jr. and Damien J. LaVera, which provide unique insights on each treaty’s negotiation and implementation.

During the 1990s, numerous arms control agreements were concluded under U.N. or U.S. leadership. In 1995, one hundred sixty-five nations agreed to indefinitely extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Many nations ratified important chemical and biological weapons conventions, a pact to reduce conventional forces in Europe, and agreements to limit testing of weapons of mass destruction. More recent treaties seeking to restrain small arms trafficking and ban land mines are also highlighted and analyzed.

Graham concludes with lessons learned from the collective negotiation and verification history of these treaties, ongoing efforts to limit weaponry, and general observations on the status and effectiveness of these agreements. There is no comparable resource available for diplomats, international lawyers, and arms control specialists.

“Graham’s book is both a memoir and an excellent history of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, with which he was involved for more than 30 years. . . . [I]t is an intimate history of events in which he was a major player.”

“The SALT, the START, the ABM-Graham had a role in them all, and his detailed descriptions of the skirmishes among presidents, cabinet secretaries, and members of Congress through six White House administrations make for a comprehensive history of American arms control.”
Publishers Weekly

“Provides a fascinating composite picture of the limits and possibilities of the legal-diplomatic approach to security and arms control. Graham and his colleagues were constantly forced to maneuver between their determined Soviet counterparts and the equally strong-willed politicians and bureaucrats in Washington. . . . Also illuminating are his chapters on the failed SALT II during the Carter and Reagan years and the rise of hard-line critics of arms control, showing the origins of the split in American strategic thinking that continues today. More optimistically, Graham concludes by pointing to the most lasting arms control success: the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which made the acquisition of nuclear weapons an act of international outlawry.”
-G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

“[This book] is a very important historical document and will undoubtedly be consulted by historians of arms control and American foreign policy in the late twentieth century. Students of bureaucratic politics and organizational behavior will also find in this book a rich mine of ase study material.”
Political Science Quarterly, Winter 2003-2003

With Damien Lavera. Cornerstones & Security: Arms Control & International Law in a Nuclear Era. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2003.


Disarmament Sketches

Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law


Thomas Graham Jr. played a role in the negotiation of every major international arms control and non-proliferation agreement signed by the United States during the past thirty years. As a U.S. government lawyer and diplomat, he helped to shape, negotiate, and secure U.S. ratification of such cornerstones of international security as SALT, START, and the ABM, INF, and CFE treaties as well as conventions prohibiting biological and chemical weapons.

Graham’s memoir offers a history of the key negotiations which have substantially reduced the threat of nuclear war. His is a personal account of bureaucratic battles over arms control in six administrations, navigating among the White House, Congress, cabinet secretaries, and agencies with overlapping responsibilities and often competing interests. No comparable text brings together detailed analyses of so many pivotal documents in the history of the Cold War; it offers abundant primary source material for historians, international lawyers, and arms control specialists around the world. Disarmament Sketches also charts the rise and fall of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the only U.S. government agency with primary responsibility for arms control policy, and lays out an agenda for continuing progress in reducing weapons stockpiles around the globe.

Throughout his career, Graham has worked tirelessly to reverse the nuclear arms race and to persuade leaders around the world to make their nations safer by renouncing and reducing their weapons of mass destruction.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS GRAHAM JR. is president of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security, based in Washington, D.C. He served as general counsel of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for fifteen years. As President Clinton’s special representative for arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, he led the successful U.S. government effort to indefinitely extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1996, he led a worldwide effort to successfully support the conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations. He has taught at Stanford University, University of Virginia, Georgetown University, and University of Washington.

“For thirty years, [Thomas Graham] has been an indefatigable warrior for the true and just in the long battle to reduce the risk of nuclear war through equitable and verifiable arms control measures. The issues surrounding that battle have been serious and complex. Some have been among and within the executive agencies; others among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government; and others have involved continuous coordination with and among our allies. Tom hasbeen at the center of those controversies longer than anyone else. He has known the history, the semantics, the ambiguities, and the politics of these issues.”
-Ambassador Paul Nitze, from the Foreword

“Thomas Graham was at the center of all the controversies surrounding national security and arms limitation through the dark days of the Cold War and he continues in that position today as the world community now searches for a new world order. To understand this subject, crucial to our historical era, this book should be read.”
-Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. secretary of defense

“Graham, based on direct and significant personal experience, has catalogued and explained the effort to achieve a more secure world over the past thirty years. This is an important book.”
-Lloyd Axworthy, former foreign minister of Canada

“Tom Graham, in a sense, was present at the creation of much of modern arms control. I commend his book, Disarmament Sketches, for the insights that it contains and the dedication of its author to a process so important to our national security.”
-General John M. Shalikashvili (USA-ret.), former chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

“I have been privileged to be associated with Ambassador Thomas Graham in many multilateral disarmament endeavours and have always been impressed by his diplomatic skills, wise judgment, and total dedication to the cause of disarmament and non-proliferation.”
-Jayantha Dhanapala, undersecretary general for disarmament affairs, United Nations, New York

Thomas Graham Jr. Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms Control and International Law
Seattle: U of Washington P, 2002. Web. 28 May 2015. [ISBN-10: 0295982128]

Common Sense

Common Sense: on Weapons of Mass Destruction


In our post-9/11 world of shoe bombers and cyber-terrorism, a crude nuclear device no larger than a baseball could devastate a major city. As we live in fear of attacks of unknown proportion, why do people remain confused and complacent in the face of potential disaster?

Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. believes that a tide of misinformation has led to the public’s lack of understanding of the vital issues. Here, in a straightforward and comprehensible style, Graham concisely provides the background necessary to understand the news and opinions surrounding WMDs. Common Sense on Weapons of Mass Destruction presents accessible, up-to-date facts on:

-nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism

-chemical and biological weapons

-land mines and small arms

-missile defense and WMDs in outer space

-WMDs in the Middle East and Asia

“Thomas Graham Jr. has cut right down to the essentials about mankind’s most dangerous weapons. The general public will be encouraged to demand better policies.”
– Hans Blix

“If security and arms control seem arcane, this vivid, succinct guided tour by a master diplomat with decades of hands-on experience is the authoritative antidote.”
– Richard RhodesPulitzer Prize-winning , author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“An eminent expert, Thomas Graham writes for the layman and his message to the nuclear powers is searing: change course or risk self-destruction.”
-Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament

Order this Book

Thomas Graham, Jr., Common Sense: on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Seattle:  U of Washington P, 2007. Web. 28 May 2015. [ISBN: 029598466X]


Sapphire: A Tale of the Cold War

1693212“A young woman navigates a maelstrom of danger, deceit, and crisis during perhaps the most dangerous period of the Cold War, the years 1954 to 1961.”–Publishers Weekly

“How does this author get in the head of a female spy in the 1960s? What’s more–how does he get into the White House as JFK talks arms deals? Well, with a little bit of applied knowledge and a hefty dose of inspiration.” —Sara Schreiber, Goltune

“Graham has a lot of incredible material at his disposal in this refreshing historical thriller.”

“The book is historically accurate, despite the fictional main characters, and will introduce readers to some of the little known intrigue in Hungary, Jordan, and Iran at a time when the U.S. and Russia were plotting moves and counter-moves…. Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. … clearly knows the territory.”–BlueInk Review

“Graham successfully invents believable scenarios, adeptly weaving in characters both real and fictitious…. An enjoyable, well-developed addition to Cold War espionage thrillers.”–Kirkus Review

Sapphire: A Tale of the Cold War by Thomas Graham, Jr. (AuthorHouse, 2014) ISBN: 978-1-4969-2785-9



America: The Founder’s Vision

AMERICA The Founders' Vision cover onlyIn today’s heated political climate, we commonly hear, “That’s not what the Founders intended” or “The nation’s Founders addressed that.” What did our country’s Founders really say-about liberty, democracy, the role of states, the military, equal protection under the law, First Amendment rights, fake news in campaigns, honesty in government, foreign influence, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and more. This book gathers the Founder’s original words from the Federalist Papers, the National Archives, various presidential libraries, and other sources to create America: The Founders’ Vision.

The Founders knew the temptations posed by power, money, and fame, and they lived in a time when demagogues and other would-be tyrants were not in short supply.   Democracy is currently under threat from authoritarians the world over, on a scale perhaps not seen since the 1930s. In this volume, the Founders have much to say that can help us defend democracy today and preserve it for future generations.

Graham, Thomas, Jr., “Remarks on America: The Founders’ Vision“, Louisville, KY: Butler Books, 201, book signing at the home of Edward T. Miller in Washington, DC on April 3, 2018.

“This is a rich book. One can read it all in a single sitting, or take a moment to read a passage or two at a time. Whatever one’s preference, one cannot but feel fortunate that, at a moment in history, these singular individuals-well read, thoughtful, and experienced-came together to form a nation. Luckily for us, they also wrote. We’re also fortunate that Tom Graham has chosen those passages that are particularly relevant for us today as we continue the work of providing liberty and justice for all.”

— Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

“Beyond the arts and pop culture, the Founders are gaining in popularity because of these strange times of rising nationalism and potential threats from authoritarians. Graham’s purpose of ‘to raise awareness of what our Founders meant for this country’ is more pressing than ever in this time of great strain on America’s ‘binding principles.'” —

Jacobs, Michelle. Rev. of America: The Founders Vision by Thomas Graham, Jr. The US Review of Books. 2018. 


America: The Founder’s Vision by Thomas Graham, Jr. (Butler Books, 2017) ISBN: 981-1-941953-53-2

Seeing the Light

Seeing the Light: the Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century (nuclear power and climate change)
by Scott L. Montgomery and Thomas Graham, Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2017) ISBN: 

Graham--cover--Seeing the LightNuclear power is not an option for the future but an absolute necessity.  The global threats of climate change and lethal air pollution, killing millions each year, make it clear that nuclear and renewable energy must work together, as non-carbon sources of energy.  Fortunately, a new era of growth in this energy source is underway in developing nations, though not yet in the West.

This book addresses how, why, and where the new nuclear era is happening, when new technologies are involved, and what this means for preventing the proliferation of weapons.  In addition, the book offers a great deal more a social and political history of nuclear power and the fear of it; a detailed discussion of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters and their meaning; an in-depth look at the myths about nuclear power; a simple and clear introduction on the basic science of nuclear energy, weapons, and reactors; and a pragmatic discussion of radiation and its effects.  There is also in the book a serious look at the science of climate change and the level of threat that it represents.


“This is an accessible and well-written book that could not be more timely. Much current campaigning gives the impression that renewable sources are the full answer to the world’s needs for climate safe energy.  The balanced discussion in this book shows us the great environmental benefits of today’s nuclear power and the potential for development and expanded use.  It merits broad reading by anyone interested in the future of energy generation, from the general public to students and scientists to policymakers.” — Hans Blix, Director General Emeritus of the International Atomic Energy Agency

“This vitally important book counters nuclear fear with deep knowledge and honest good will.  It is by far the best book on the subject yet written.  We need its authoritative perspective for the difficult transition we face today away from carbon energy.” — Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize recipient for The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

The Alternate Route

The Alternate Route: Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones

Eventual achievement of nuclear disarmament has been an objective and a dream of the world community since the dawn of the Nuclear Age. Considerable progress has been made over the decades, but this has always required close US-Russian cooperation. At present, further progress is likely blocked by the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency and the toxic US-Russia relationship.

The Alternate Route : Nuclear Weapon Free Zones

The classic road toward nuclear disarmament appears to be closed for the foreseeable future, but there may be another route. In the last fifty years, well-conceived regional treaties have been developed in Latin America, the South Pacific, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.

These arrangements have developed for many and varied political and security reasons, but now virtually all of the Southern Hemisphere and important parts of the Northern Hemisphere are legally nuclear-weapon-free. These regional nuclear weapon disarmament treaties are formally respected by the five states recognized under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear weapon states: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—often referred to collectively as the P-5 states.

Variations of these regional treaties might eventually be negotiated in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and South Asia, setting aside the P-5 states until the very end of the process.  With regional agreements in place around the globe, negotiation among the P-5 states would be all that stands between the world community and the banishment of nuclear weapons, verifiably and effectively worldwide. By the time this point is reached, Russia and the United States might be able to cooperate.

Essential reading for policy advisors, foreign service professionals, and scholars in political science, The Alternate Route examines the possibilities of nuclear-weapon-free zones as a pathway to worldwide nuclear disarmament.

Order this Book 

The Alternate Route: Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone by Thomas Graham, Jr. (Corvallis: Oregon State University, 2017) ISBN  ISBN: 978-0-87071-906-6