In The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution: Power Politics in the Atomic Age (Cornell University Press, 2020), Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press tackle the central puzzle of the nuclear age: the persistence of intense geopolitical competition in the shadow of nuclear weapons. The book explains why the race to establish a nuclear deterrent can be destabilizing; how the condition of "mutual assured destruction" can unravel; and why some states threaten to wield the world’s most destructive weapon against conventional threats.
On the episode, I talked with Dr. Lieber and Dr. Press about the theoretical and policy implications of their work, the role of fear in international relations, and Thomas Schelling and his theory of a nuclear “taboo.” Dedicated listeners will also be treated to an important question. Which is better: "Dr. Strangelove" or "Failsafe?"
John Sakellariadis is a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Student Research Grantee. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Literature from Harvard University.