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This is the archive for April 2009

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Recommended blog: Duck of Minerva

I've read with profit Professor of Political Science Rodger Payne from the University of Louisville for many years. I appreciated his kind remarks when I shut down Deep Blade Journal a couple of years ago. And this post in his blog, too, after I had challenged a conservative professor from Wisconsin. I rather miss those days of blogging. It doesn't seem the same to me now.

Anyway, Rodger is part of quite a lively group blog, Duck of Minerva. One of the authors there, Dan Nexon has up a splendid post called "All conventional wisom is not created equal." In it he takes on (via a recent Slate piece) some conventional wisdom about what constitutes faulty conventional wisdom. Just go there and read it.

I liked his last item actually carrying farther a particular point in the Slate piece by Jacob Weisberg: "Nuclear proliferation might be stabilizing!"

There is something that's sure to be seen as crazy in many quarters. The public drumbeat on Iran relations, for example, is that proliferation is a grave threat. Thus the prospect of an Iranian nuke--even if every bit of real public information says they aren't building one--generates unrestrained hyperbolic fear within America and its allies.

Not saying there are no dangers. However, Nexon has a very different angle about the less-public reaction to proliferation of policy makers within powerful nuclear states. Nexon writes, "States that actively oppose nuclear proliferation do so precisely because they worry" that they will be subjected to the "deterrent effects of nuclear weapons."
Nexon: Such states would, shockingly enough, rather not be deterred from engaging in force projection and various other forms of compellence.
I suppose I very much appreciate that we're no longer in the Bush years. Today there is a story out about how Vice President Biden will be "in charge of the administration's nuclear nonproliferation agenda, including President Obama's goal of securing vulnerable nuclear material around the world over the next four years, and efforts to convince Congress to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would ban new nuclear explosions."

That agenda has been almost unthinkable, maybe since 1993 (when it turned out to be vaporous). Certainly I'm all for it being as real as President Obama says it is:
President Obama: I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.
He's "not naive," though. In may not happen "in my lifetime," he says.

Indeed, the U.S. national security state--that desires an unfettered nuclear field in which to play--is a tough nut to crack.