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Stealing to Survive?
11 February 2017
The making of urban projects in France
15 February 2017

Vulnerability of Knowledge and Nuclear

Dr. Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov / CC BY 2.0. David.

At a time when all states with nuclear weapons are launching multi-decade programs to “modernize” their arsenal, it is important to recognize that our societies’ knowledge about nuclear weaponry is very poor.

This poor knowledge, according to Benoît Pélopidas, is the result of three phenomena:

  • Overconfidence in the accuracy of the available knowledge used to analyze and address security and defense issues.
  • Overconfidence that lessons from the past are learned.
  • Unanimous agreement on the lessons drawn.

Holding a chair of excellence from Sorbonne Paris Cité, Benoît Pélopidas intends to study this issue, focusing on the knowledge (and lack thereof!) of populations and political and military elites.

Beyond its research goals, this project seeks to contribute to a more informed public debate. Are there alternatives to plans to modernize nuclear arsenals? What fears about these weapons are warranted at a time when the Trump presidency is raising concerns?

Read the first publication from this research program:

Nuclear Weapons Scholarship as a Case of Self-Censorship in Security Studies, Benoît Pélopidas, Journal of Global Security Studies, December 2016.