Shameless Self-Promotion: Overkill Edition

Posts have been sparse as of late, but I thought I’d dust off the old blog to brag to the internets inform my loyal readers (hi dad!) about a couple of recent items stemming from the paper I co-authored for the Cato Institute with Chris Preble and Ben Friedman.

First up, Tuesday at noon I had the pleasure of speaking at a Cato policy forum on our paper, “The End of Overkill?: Reassessing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy”. The panel was moderated by Chris Preble and included myself, Ben, Dr. Hans Christensen of the Federation of American Scientists, and Elbridge . . .
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Shameless Self-Promotion: Cato Edition

[Updated Below]

As I made note of previously, blogging will be somewhat more sporadic than usual (if that’s possible) as I slog through my final year of coursework and prepare for comps next fall. That said, I always manage to find a few minutes for my all-time favorite activity: shameless self-promotion!

Today marks the release of a paper I co-authored with Christopher Preble and Benjamin Friedman of the Cato Institute on American nuclear strategy. In the paper, we argue that a smaller nuclear arsenal will not hurt U.S. security and by shifting to a submarine-based monad, instead of the . . .
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Turning Down the Volume on the Iran Debate

Pundits, academics, and the mainstream media have turned the volume up to eleven on the “Bomb Iran” debate in the past two months. Much of the discussion has been healthy, indeed necessary when discussing matters of nuclear proliferation and war. But much of the reporting and opining has also been reckless fear-mongering (see Glenn Greenwald’s assessment). And most arguments for a preemptive strike are premised on the assertion that the Iranian regime will eventually pursue nuclear weapons, if it is not already.

So it is refreshing to see a few major outlets cutting through the noise and stepping back . . .
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Iranian Threat: Mortal or Deterrable?

Numerous essays have been written in recent months taking up positions on whether or not the United States should use military force against Iran in an attempt to forestall its nuclear program.  Foreign Affairs offers an excellent debate on the subject that iss highlighted by contending essays from Matthew Kroenig and Colin Kahl, taking the pro- and anti-bombing positions, respectively.  Perhaps the silliest offering in this ongoing discussion though was an op-ed in last Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal by Mark Helprin that is filled with contradictions and paints an exceedingly cartoonish picture of Iran.

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Mr. Helprin, a . . .
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Max Boot and the Abuse of Historical Analogy

Let it never be said that if there’s an opportunity to make a hackneyed historical analogy that Max Boot will not take it.  Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Boot, a senior fellow at the Council Foreign Relations, asserts:

Why did the West do so little while the Nazis gathered strength in the 1930s? While the Soviet Union enslaved half of Europe and fomented revolution in China in the late 1940s? And, again, while Al Qaeda gathered strength in the 1990s?… The answer to the riddle—why did the West slumber?—becomes easier to grasp if we think about present-day relations . . .
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A MAD, MAED World?

A recent report from the RAND Corporation seeks to elucidate several scenarios by which the United States and China could become embroiled in armed conflict.  While much will be made of a single sentence at the beginning of the report that predicts the possibility of a China stronger than Soviet Russia during the Cold War or Nazi Germany during World War II—and despite providing excellent summaries of potential East Asian flashpoints—the authors actually judge the probability of great power conflict in the Asia-Pacific to be relatively low.  More interesting are the recommendations offered for decreasing conflict—particularly, the section on . . .
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Satellite Sensors and Nuclear Deterrence?

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute is generally one of the most well informed defense policy analysts and an intelligent commentator on defense policy with deep knowledge of an immeasurable number of weapon systems.  But Dr. Thompson’s recent article at SpaceNews.com discussing the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)—whose first element, GEO-1, was launched into orbit last month—redefines nuclear deterrence in such a way that one is left wondering whether he is actually talking about deterrence or something entirely different.

Thompson posits,

[Information on hostile missile launches received from SBIRS] is essential to nuclear deterrence, which as currently practiced requires . . .
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The Reading List: Offense-defense, nuclear deterrence, and al Qaeda

Keeping up with foreign policy news and international relations literature is a never-ending task. There is just too much good stuff being written. “The Reading List” is our semi-regular column featuring noteworthy articles and books we've read recently. Not everything on this list is new, but always worthy of your time.

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Reading List! We've got mini-reviews of books, academic articles, and analyses. In addition to the ones below, be sure to check out our review of Dan Drezner's latest book International Relations Theory and ZOMBIES and write-up of C. . . .
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