By Andrew Carpenter and Ulrika Grufman
(For more information on this feature, see here.)
And this week’s in the weeds conceptual articles on nuclear weapons and related issues include…
Fatwas for fission: Assessing the terrorist threat to Pakistan’s nuclear assets
Blair, C. P., Fatwas for fission: Assessing the terrorist threat to Pakistan’s nuclear assets, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. 67:6, 2011, pp. 19-33.
“Based on unclassified information, neither the optimists nor the pessimists positions are defensible in fact, both positions only review assumed terrorist capabilities and putative vulnerabilities of Pakistan’s nuclear assets.” (2011)
Charles Blair examines the threat that terrorist groups pose to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. He finds that optimists who think that the warheads are very safe, and pessimists, who think that the warheads are in imminent danger of falling into terrorist’s hands are both wrong. Blair finds the two sides get it wrong in determining the vulnerability of nuclear weapons and in their interpretations of terrorist’s perception of the value of nuclear weapons. Pessimists do not consider that the most capable groups in Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban, have not demonstrated a desire to acquire nuclear weapons. Optimists do not consider the high value of nuclear weapons.
India’s Nuclear Odyssey: Implicit Umbrellas, Diplomatic Disappointments, and the Bomb
Kennedy, A. B., India’s Nuclear Odyssey: Implicit Umbrellas, Diplomatic Disappointments, and the Bomb. International Security. 36:2, Fall 2011, pp. 120-153.
“In this view, the credibility of an extended deterrence commitment rests foremost on the interests that the protector has at stake in defending its protégé, as opposed to the techniques used to signal the commitment.” (2011)
Andrew Kennedy traces India’s decision to develop nuclear weapons. He traces India’s the disintegration of India’s confidence that it would be protected from China by the United States or the Soviet Union. When the United States and Soviet Union began to open diplomatic channels with China in 1971, India was no longer confident that it would be protected by the Soviet Union or United States’ nuclear umbrellas. Kennedy finds that the inability to convince India that the United States was serious in its commitment to India is a lesson that can be applied to aspiring nuclear states today.
From Arms Control to Denuclearization: Governmentality and the Abolitionist Desire
Mutimer, D. 2011. From Arms Control to Denuclearization: Governmentality and the Abolitionist Desire, Contemporary Security Policy. 32:1, Spring 2011. pp.57-75.
“A 21st century nuclear arms control, therefore, will not be arms control in the sense it was practiced in the 20th century, but rather would involve securing against nuclear weapons – as risky and inconvenient – by the very states which hold them.”(p.72)
David Mutimer explores the relationship between the current practices of bilateral arms control negotiations and the goal of a world without nuclear weapons set by Obama in his Prague speech in April 2009. By drawing on Foucault’s concept of governmentality and by understanding arms control as a social practice, Mutimer argues that the type of Cold War arms control in which we currently engage will not lead to a world free of nuclear weapons. Instead, he believes we have to delegitimize nuclear weapons by changing our understanding of them. We need to view the weapons not as providers of security, but the opposite. He derives part of his argument from a way of thinking which suggests that the weapons and the strategies with which they come inhibit important global flows of goods and information and as such they should be considered a threat.