Nuclear-Conventional Nexus and Beyond
Our world faces increasingly complex and interconnected challenges. The third part of my research agenda investigates the linkages between the traditionally divergent aspects of global crises, such as the nexus between conventional and nuclear weapons in the current arms race and the common patterns across nuclear dangers, climate change, and pandemics.
Published or Forthcoming Work
- Challenges to the Nuclear Order: Between Resilience and Contestation. In Routledge Handbook of the Future of Warfare. Sebastian Kaempf and Artur Gruszczak, eds. Routledge. (Forthcoming)
Warnings about the breakdown of the institutions, norms, and security practices that govern the development and use of nuclear technology worldwide—also referred to as the global nuclear order—appear regularly. At the same time, the nuclear order has been incredibly stable, overcoming changes in the security environment, technological shifts, and public opposition. This chapter explores the dynamics of resilience and contestation within the global nuclear order. Since its conception, the global nuclear order has been fraught, whether through the tension between credibility and restraint in building up a nuclear arsenal, the countervailing pressures of antagonism and trust in the relationship between adversaries, and the inequality between the nuclear “haves” and “have-nots” that underpins the nuclear order. Despite the many contradictions, the global nuclear order has been marked by an incredible amount of resilience—the result of the deep embeddedness of the nuclear apparatus, the invisibility of states’ nuclear pursuits, and the adaptability of the order to changing circumstances. Bearing in mind this stability, this chapter sheds new light on the major challenges that the nuclear order faces today and in the future: the unravelling of the arms control regime, the perceived threat from emerging technologies, the challenges posed by the disarmament movement, and the overlooked implications of climate change for the global nuclear order.
- Writing IR after COVID-19: Reassessing Political Possibilities, Good Faith, and Policy-Relevant Scholarship on Climate Change Mitigation and Nuclear Disarmament. With Benoît Pelopidas. (Published in Global Studies Quarterly)
To address the COVID-19 pandemic, states around the world adopted a range of unprecedented and far-reaching policy measures, which had for a long time been presented as impossible. In this article, we argue that such actions suggest not only present but also past political possibilities and that these possibilities have been overlooked or denied by policymakers and scholars alike. We focus on two existential challenges about which pledges for transformative actions have been continuously made throughout the previous decades: climate change and the danger from nuclear weapons. We document the gap between pledges and accomplishments in these two realms and show how claims of impossibility to act do not hold up. Adopting a minimal standard of good faith as seeking to keep one's promises, we argue that the lack of adequate action renders the assumption that policymakers are acting in good faith problematic. We then diagnose a Panglossian double failure of the policy-relevant international relations scholarship: a failure to provide policymakers with the necessary tools to address the root causes of these existential problems and enable them to learn from past experiences and a failure to hold policymakers accountable. We propose three modifications to the scholarship to avoid repeating such failures and conclude with a dual call for political courage and scholarly responsibility.