Nuclear Realism : Global Political Thought after the Thermonuclear Revolution
This book claims that the need for new, substantive thinking about nuclear weapons presents a significant opportunity to reassess and broaden our view of realism in politics. What, today, is a realist response to nuclear weapons? This book is animated by the idea that contemporary attempts to confront the challenge of nuclear weapons and other global security problems of the modern age would benefit from richer historical foundations. To this end, the book revisits, re-articulates and reclaims a particular type of sophisticated, yet largely overlooked responses to the thermonuclear revolution. The aim is to widen the horizon of current conversations on nuclear weapons as well as to spur caution and reflection about the governance of global security more broadly.
Foreshadowing the ‘critical turn’ in IR theory, nuclear realism provided a critique of dominant approaches to war and military force in the face of large-scale destruction, reflections on the meaning and implications of ‘national security’, and attention to the far-reaching encroachments that nuclear state apparatuses and the increasing militarization of social life involved. Moreover, it also included a revised conception of the relationship between liberty and political authority, appreciated environmental problems within a global ecological vision, and dissected the role of technology in improving, structuring, restricting and endangering human life.
This work provokes a discussion that will be instructive and rewarding at a time when nuclear weapons and other planetary security problems demand attention and political action.