Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. PressNov 3, 2020
The Myth of the Nuclear Revolution
Power Politics in the Atomic Age
Cornell University Press 2020
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.