By Andrew Carpenter and Ulrika Grufman
(For more information on this feature, see here.)
And this week’s in the weeds conceptual/theoretical articles on nuclear weapons and related issues include…
Braut-Hegghammer, M., Revisiting Osirak: Preventative attacks and nuclear proliferation risks. International Security. 36:1, Summer 2011. pp. 101-132.
“I conclude that the attack had mixed effects, but that the most important consequence was a transformation and intensification of Iraq’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.” (p. 131)
Braut-Hegghammer uses information gained since 2003 to re-examine the success of the Israeli air strike against the Osiriak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981. He finds that the attack did force Iraq to be more secretive about its nuclear program, which slowed the pace of the program. However before the attack Iraq was not organized in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and was not very dedicated in its pursuit. After Osirak this changed, and Iraq became dedicated to acquiring nuclear weapons. Braut-Hegghammer cautions that both those that argue that the Osirak attack was a success and those that insist it only made the situation worse are both missing some points. He also finds that the Iraq situation was unique, and should not be used to predict the impact of a similar attack against another state’s nuclear program.
Just in Case
Tanter, R., 2011. “Just in Case”: Extended Nuclear Deterrence in the Defense of Australia. Pacific Focus. 14:1. April 2011. pp.113-136.
“At root, Australians need to ask themselves whether their country needs to be, or should be, defended by nuclear weapons.” (p.132)
In this article, Richard Tanter highlights a number of questions regarding Australia’s reliance on extended nuclear deterrence from the US. Not only does he see problems in the lack of official information on the subject from both countries, but he also questions the actual deterrence model. According to Tanter there are roughly four different models of extended deterrence and the one Australia subscribes to he calls the “Just in case” model. This model differs from the others in a number of ways. For example there is no clear picture of what threats Australia faces and neither country appears to know what the plan of extended nuclear deterrence entails in this case. Tanter concludes his article by calling for substantial research to be done on the matter as well as questioning the inevitability of Australia relying on nuclear weapons for protection.
More Business as Usual?
Spear, J., 2011. More Business as Usual? The Obama Administration and the Nuclear Posture Review. Contemporary Security Policy. 32:1, April 2011. pp.241-263
“President Obama had many advantages in the struggle: popularity, domestic and international support, the backing of elder statesmen, but despite this the changes to United States nuclear posture will be modest. Forget ‘new practices’ of arms control; this is business as usual. (p.259)
Joanna Spear sets out to investigate why the early arms control rhetoric of the Obama Administration has not been realised in practice. She uses the debate over the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) to examine what factors play a part in the foreign policy decision making process. As a tool to understanding the process, she uses Allison and Harlepin’s ‘bureaucratic politics’ paradigm which is a model of decision making. This model suggests that the process itself influences the outcome and it rejects the idea that decisions are the result of rational actors making rational choices. Instead the model focuses on bureaucratic aspects such as senior and junior officials as well as outside actors (the press, interest groups, the Congress). It also emphasises the importance of the President, yet highlights his limitations. Spear concludes that the outcome of the NPR can be explained by using the above model and it furthermore explains why President Obama’s ambitious rhetoric has not yet been realised.