Mueller is rather less worried than I about an instance of nuclear terrorism — he’s also less worried about proliferation, arms races or any prospect of nuclear use at all. Mueller has a very provocative new book, Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda, in which he suggests that what he calls nuclear alarmism distorts our national security policy.
On October 29, Michael Krepon and I will serve as discussants. Michael is author of wonderful, Better Safe Than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb, which is a nice counterpoint to Mueller’s book in terms of striking the right balance between concern and hype.
Anyway, the meeting is a welcome chance for me to try out some ideas that I’ve been working on as part of a New America Foundation effort on reframing what used to be called the G-WOT.
Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda
(Oxford University Press, 2009)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
11:00 AM (Luncheon to Follow)
Featuring the author, John Mueller, Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies, Ohio State University; Michael Krepon, Co-Founder, Henry L. Stimson Center; and Jeffrey G. Lewis, Director, Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative, New America Foundation. Moderated by Justin Logan, Associate Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
The Cato Institute
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Having informed readers in previous books that their fears of war and terrorism are overblown, iconoclastic political scientist John Mueller has set his sights on nuclear weapons. For Mueller, nuclear weapons have never represented much of a threat given states’ fundamental unwillingness to use them. Moreover, our current worries about terrorists obtaining such weapons are essentially baseless. As Mueller points out, there is a multitude of reasons why terrorists will not be able to obtain nuclear weapons, much less build them themselves and successfully transport them to targets. Atomic Obsession concludes with a judgment that our efforts to prevent the spread of WMDs have produced much more suffering and violence than would have been the case if we took a more realistic view of such weapons.
Please join us for a discussion of this provocative new book.
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