Lecture by Campbell Craig (Cardiff University) on May 23th 2018 in the framework of the Chair on Peace Education.
The possibility of nuclear war derives from two realities in our contemporary world. First, there are several sovereign states which possess nuclear weapons: nuclear arsenals physically exist, and are deployed by nations which can use them. Second, there is no authority which can stop a state from using them: we live in a world of international anarchy, if this is defined simply as the absence of a supranational power capable of preventing states from waging war.
The debate among scholars concerned with finding the political means to end the possibility of nuclear war revolves around these two realities. Some scholars argue that the arsenals must be eliminated--that we must seek the permanent disarmament or 'uninvention' of nuclear weaponry. Others, including the present speaker, argue that anarchy must be eliminated, that we must create a supranational entity with enough power to stop all states from using them.
The lecture will discuss this debate in light of current developments, particularly in the United States, which suggest that the idea of 'winnable' nuclear war is returning to the fore of American foreign policy.
Campbell Craig is Professor of International politics at Cardiff University. He is the author of several books on nuclear history and politics, including Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau and Waltz (Columbia University Press), and (with Fredrik Logevall) America's Cold War: the Politics of Insecurity (Harvard University Press). Professor Craig has held senior visiting fellowships at Yale University, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and the European University Institute. His forthcoming book (with Jan Ruzicka), on US unipolar preponderance and nuclear nonproliferation, will be published by Cornell University Press.
Introduction by Tom Sauer, Associate Professor of International Politics in the Department of Political Science and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. His main research interests are international security issues like nuclear proliferation (Iran, North Korea) and disarmament, Russia and European security. He is currently working on the role of informal international organizations in diplomacy, and the potential impact of stigma on nuclear weapons. He has recently published a book (in Dutch) titled De strijd voor vrede. En hoe we die kunnen winnen (Polis, 2017) (The struggle for peace and how to win it).