Where we mine academic/industry writing on nukes so you don’t have to, #8
By Andrew Carpenter and Ulrika Grufman
(For more information on this feature, see here.)
And this Monday’s in the weeds conceptual articles on nuclear weapons and related issues include…
Why Iran Didn’t Admit Stuxnet Was an Attack
Brown, G. D., Why Iran Didn’t Admit Stuxnet Was an Attack. Joint Forces Quarterly, October 2011, pp. 70-73.
“Iran’s “non-position” on the Stuxnet event has been frustrating to practitioners in the field of cyberspace operations. Finally, there was a well-documented, unambiguous cyber attack to dissect! And yet there was little official discussion of the issue because Iran passed up its opportunity to complain of an unjustified attack.”(p. 71)
Colonel Gary Brown explores the reasons that Iran did not specifically admit that its centrifuges were destroyed by a cyber attack in the form of the Stuxnet virus. Brown then explores how the refusal resulted in a missed opportunity to further define cyber warfare. Brown deduces that Iran did not condemn the attack because of embarrassment. That the computer virus was able to cause so much damage to their nuclear centrifuges was not something Iran wanted to become public. Other reasons Brown thought might have caused Iran’s silence are: Desire by Iran to use cyber attacks itself, perception that such an announcement would not gain any sympathy from the international community, and inability to prove who the perpetrator was. Brown finds that whatever the reason for Iran’s silence, that silence resulted in a valuable missed opportunity to define the parameters of cyber warfare.
Pushing and pulling: The Western system, nuclear weapons and Soviet change
Deudney, D. & Ikenberry, G.J. 2011. Pushing and pulling: The Western system, nuclear weapons and Soviet change. International Politics. 48:4-5, July 2011. pp.496–544.
“Unfortunately, looking to the post-Cold War era, both Reagan and Gorbachev turned out to be anomalies. The particular circumstances that had created the opportunities for extraordinary breakthroughs by the diplomacy of these two men and the small handful of their immediate associates disappeared almost as quickly as they had arisen.” (p.535)
Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry explore the outcome of the Cold War and the underlying reasons for its peaceful conclusion. They take an externalist approach; in other words they focus on what happened outside of the Soviet Union, whilst admitting that the failure of socialism played a major part. The authors argue that incentives from the western system as well as the existence of nuclear weapons where the key external factors which lead to the peaceful ending of the Cold War. Nuclear weapons made the Soviet Union feel secure and the weapon’s unprecedented destructive force also encouraged international cooperation. Lastly the authors argue that the individual character and experiences of Reagan and Gorbachev were important for the final outcome. However, they conclude by stating that the immediate post Cold War atmosphere, where arms control deals were struck and where cooperation seemed possible, has quickly vanished.
Critical Geopolitics and the Control of Arms in the 21st Century
Dalby, S. 2011. Critical Geopolitics and the Control of Arms in the 21st Century, Contemporary Security Policy. 32:1, May 2011. pp.40-56.
“The rise of Asian powers makes it especially clear that there are limits to American capabilities, and that arms control will have to recognize the geopolitical circumstances of globalization and imminent problems of climate change, urbanization, energy shortages, and numerous related issues.” (p.53)
Simon Dalby challenges the conceptual foundations on which current arms control debates are founded. He does so by highlighting the importance of geopolitics and the global changes caused by globalisation. Dalby argues that although the arms control rhetoric has changed considerably from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration, there is still an unrealistic state focus and an assumption of American superiority. He moreover claims that the issue of nuclear states operating outside of international nonproliferation regime, such as Israel, Pakistan and India, fails to be addressed. Dalby concludes by arguing that in order to deal with arms control issues in light of the challenges posed by globalisation, America needs to tackle the legacy of the War on Terror, and seek solutions more in tune with the current global situation. “Facing challengers may be much less important in the coming decades than facing challenges”. (p.54)