Misremembering the ACRS: economic imaginations and nuclear negotiations in the Middle East
Received 02 Feb 2021, Accepted 12 Jul 2021, Published online: 28 Jul 2021
This article examines the political economy of Arab-Israeli peacemaking in the first half of the 1990s, specifically the multilateral working group on Arms Control and Regional Security (ACRS). It focuses on the misplaced memorialization of the ACRS process as a lost opportunity for the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, which has resulted in a continuous “return” to ACRS in policy discussions. The article contends that rather than producing mechanisms for disarmament, the ACRS process was part of a larger economic restructuring and served as a platform for militarized economic relations. Seeking to destabilize dominant repertoires on peacemaking in the Middle East, the article demonstrates the overlap between processes of nuclear entrenchment and economic imaginaries. It offers a deeper understanding of how the nuclear realm interacts with motifs of peace and prosperity.
The Birth of Nuclear Eternity
in Jenny Andersson and Sandra Kemp (eds.), Futures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021
This chapter reconnects modes of futures-making with the requirements of democracy by focusing on the naturalization of nuclear weapons and their removal from the realm of democratic choice at a particular point in time. The chapter revolves around the concept of ‘nuclear eternity’ as a means of reducing public choices about the use of nuclear weapons. It critiques the idea that nuclear weapons have always been perceived as ‘here to stay’ and reassesses the dominant narrative about the 1960s as an emancipatory decade by arguing that the decade actually witnessed a significant shrinking of future political possibilities. Finally, the chapter identifies three shapes of the future which produce ‘nuclear eternity’—an absent post-nuclear future, an inconsistent post-nuclear future, and a disconnected post-nuclear future—and illustrates them with historical examples.
European nuclear weapons. Zombie debates and nuclear realities
In February 2020, French president Emmanuel Macron invited all interested European states to a “strategic dialogue” on the supposed contribution of France’s nuclear arsenal to European collective security. While certain media commentators relayed Macron’s intervention with approbation and excitement, framing the proposal as an exciting new idea that, if implemented, might boost Europe’s clout on the world stage, the dominant reaction was one of ennui. After all, the argument for Euro-nukes is far from new. In fact, several (mostly French) actors have unsuccessfully attempted to persuade European policymakers of the necessity of European nuclear weapons cooperation for more than half a century. In this article, we investigate the history, merits, and longevity of the case for European nuclear arms. Drawing on secondary literature, policymakers’ writings, and two hitherto untapped surveys of European public opinion conducted by one of the authors, we argue that the case for Euro-nukes is critically flawed with respect to security, strategic autonomy, futurity, and democratic good governance. We maintain that the continuous resurfacing of the “zombie” case for Euro-nukes is made possible by powerful organisational interests, as well as conceptual reversification resulting in enduring contradictions between nuclear vulnerabilities and claims of protection and autonomy.
What Europeans believe about Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and why it matters
Did the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shorten the war, and were they necessary to force the Japanese surrender? Many people believe the answer to both questions is yes: In dropping the Bomb, America chose the lesser of two evils. Although historians have long challenged this narrative as wrong or misleading, a significant number of Europeans still believe it. That is the primary result of a recent survey of European views on nuclear affairs generally and the atomic bombings of Japan specifically. The survey, carried out in October 2019, involved approximately 7,000 respondents aged 18 and upward, carefully selected to ensure representative samples from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Correspondence. New Era or New Error? Technology and the Future of Deterrence
A debate on imagined futures and the material vulnerability of nuclear weapons systems
Donald Trump could lose the election by authorizing new nuclear weapons tests
Polls in the United States and nine allied countries in Europe and Asia show that public support for a nuclear test is very low. If the Trump administration conducts a test, then it shouldn’t expect backing from Americans or its closest U.S. partners.
This evidence was used in the U.S. Congress in the Fall of 2020
France: nuclear command, control and communications
In this essay, Benoît Pelopidas outlines what is known about French NC3 and identifies discursive, sociological and temporal challenges to assessing the validity of claims on this topic. After reviewing the primacy of presidential nuclear authority, the nuclear chain of command, civilian control over the arsenal, tension between legitimacy and robustness of the chain of command, the role of military authority in the launch order, inadequate code transfer, and accidents and close calls, he concludes: “Beyond the problems of arbitrariness, mismanagement, incidents and accidents outlined above, there are key components of the French nuclear command and control system about which we either do not know much or have partial and conflicting accounts
Conclusion : Dépasser le panglossisme nucléaire
Ce chapitre montre les postulats partagés par le discours officiel français sur la question nucléaire et celui des chercheurs francophones sur le sujet à partir d’une analyse de contenu détaillée, et ses implications pour le diagnostic stratégique. Il montre notamment, à partir du diagnostic pénétrant de Lucien Poirier, comment les propos analytiques des chercheurs dans la tradition des études stratégiques sont pris dans un piège incantatoire. En d’autres termes, ils prétendent évaluer l’efficacité des politiques de dissuasion nucléaire mais sont dans une position où ils ne pourraient pas en dire les limites s’ils en trouvaient puisque cela équivaudrait à faire le jeu de l’adversaire. (L’argument est plus sophistiqué, mieux étayé et développé dans le chapitre) Le chapitre propose des pistes et des pratiques qui permettent d’échapper au piège incantatoire.
L’insoutenable légèreté de la chance : trois sources d’excès de confiance dans la possibilité de contrôler les crises nucléaires
Une version augmentée du travail publié en anglais sur le rôle de la chance dans les crises nucléaires et de la construction de la confiance excessive dans la possibilité de contrôler les crises nucléaires qui s’appuie sur l’étude de l’expérience et de la mémorialisation de la crise de Cuba en France à partir de sources primaires.