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New Book | Tempting Fate: Why Nonnuclear States Confront Nuclear Opponents

Author: Avey, Paul

Why would countries without nuclear weapons even think about fighting nuclear-armed opponents? A simple answer is that no one believes nuclear weapons will be used. But that answer fails to consider why nonnuclear state leaders would believe that in the first place. In this superb unpacking of the dynamics of conflict under conditions of nuclear monopoly, Paul C. Avey argues that the costs and benefits of using nuclear weapons create openings that weak nonnuclear actors can exploit.

Local international relations expert weighs in on air strikes in Syria

Author: Shannon Nolan

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Michael C. Desch, the Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations at the University of Notre Dame, was live in studio on Wednesday to weigh in on the political and defense aspects of the air strikes in Syria. Desch is the founding director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. On Tuesday, Desch released the following comments on President Trump’s decision to remove some of the U.S. forces from Syria.

Vaccine Hesitancy: From Misinformation to Conspiracy Theory

Author: Joe Pierre, M.D

The anti-vaxx movement is a product of mistrust and misinformation. I recently "sat down" over email with Julie Saetre to talk about my previous blog post,  "Antivaxxers and the Plague of Science Denial," and more about vaccine hesitancy and conspiracy theories for her article "A Dangerous Debate" that appeared in the September 2019 issue of Kiwanis Magazine. Here's the full transcript of our interview: It seems conspiracy theorists are thriving in the 21st century, with bizarre explanations for everything from 9/11 to the Sandy Hook shooting to “chem trails” and, now, vaccines. Are people today more susceptible to the... 

Here’s the dirty truth about China’s rare-earths threat

Author: Eugene Gholz

Hit by U.S. tariffs and the blacklisting of Chinese telecom supplier Huawei, Beijing recently found a way to send a threatening trade message: with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to a rare-earths processing plant. An editorial in the official People’s Daily newspaper on the subject warned, “Don’t underestimate China’s ability to strike back.” The newspaper even used a phrase, translated as “don’t say we didn’t warn you,” previously employed just before border wars with India and Vietnam.

Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security

Author: Michael Desch

How professionalization and scholarly “rigor” made social scientists increasingly irrelevant to US national security policy To mobilize America’s intellectual resources to meet the security challenges of the post–9/11 world, US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates observed that “we must again embrace eggheads and ideas.” But the gap between national security policymakers and international relations scholars has become a chasm.…

Defense One: Calm Down, Folks: Enemies Still Fear US Military Tech Innovation

Author: Eugene Gholz

Panting warnings that the United States is falling dangerously behind our opponents in the race for military innovation are commonplace. The United States is a strange country in which outside critics and defense insiders, both in government and in private industry, are quick to attack the very innovation system that has produced the many incredible weapons that give the United States its global reputation for military-technological leadership...…

Commonweal: No More Nukes: An Exchange

Author: Michael Desch

Speaking to attendees of the Vatican’s November conference on “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Development,” Pope Francis “firmly condemned” even “the very possession” of nuclear weapons. In short, he judged not just nuclear war but also nuclear deterrence anathema. Supporters of his view hailed the pope’s statement as “historic” and a “big hit” to the efforts of nuclear powers such as the United States to stop the global momentum swelling behind last summer’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. With 122 votes in support of the treaty in the United Nations, and the pope’s imprimatur, are we at last on the eve of the postnuclear millennium?...…

“Restraint and Oil Security,” in U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century: The Case for Restraint

Author: Eugene Gholz

Grand strategy, meaning a state’s theory about how it can achieve national security for itself, is elusive. That is particularly true in the United States, where the division of federal power and the lack of direct security threats limit consensus about how to manage danger. This book seeks to spur more vigorous debate on US grand strategy. To do so, the first half of the volume assembles the most recent academic critiques of primacy, the dominant strategic perspective in the United States today. The contributors challenge the notion that US national security requires a massive military, huge defense spending, and frequent military intervention around the world. The second half of the volume makes the positive case for a more restrained foreign policy by excavating the historical roots of restraint in the United States and illustrating how restraint might work in practice in the Middle East and elsewhere. The volume concludes with assessments of the political viability of foreign policy restraint in the United States today...…