Presented by RubinaWaseem Beyond Waltz’s Nuclear WorldMore Trust may be Better
Sequence of Presentation • Introduction • Anarchy, nuclear weapons, and the causes of war • More may be better • Nuclear trust-building through security communities • Security dilemma sensibility • Accepting uncertainty and vulnerability • The development of common interest & shared values • Critical Analysis
Introduction of the Book • According to Kenneth Waltz, the pre-eminent International Relations (IR) theorist of the post-World War II era, the arms races between nuclear powers and the spread of nuclear weapons do not have to be a terrifying prospect. • Waltz’s main argument is that the fear of nuclear war is so overwhelming that it will prevent war between nuclear-armed states as it did during the Cold War. • This essay, however, rejects the Waltzian position and argues, instead, that lasting peace in a time where all-out thermonuclear war is a constant possibility requires better solutions to the most pressing security issue in the realm of international politics.
Therefore, after discussing Waltz’s thesis in more detail, this essay will tackle the problem of nuclear proliferation by discussing two alternative approaches: • nuclear trust-building through security communities • the resurgent idea of world (nuclear) government. It will conclude by emphasizing the importance of fresh critical thinking about nuclear weapons.
Introduction of the Author Nicholas J. Wheeler (born 7 April 1962) is professor of international politics at the University of Birminghamand co-editor (with Christian Reus-Smit) of the Cambridge Studies in International Relations book series, published by Cambridge University Press and the British International Studies Association.
Introduction of the Chapter • Kenneth Waltz argued that just as nuclear weapons had played a decisive role in preventing war between the superpowers, so it should be expected that they would play the same role in relations to new nuclear powers. • Against this powerful case the author rejects the Waltzian proposition that fear of nuclear destruction can serve as a permanent basis of international order.
The lasting order depends upon the building of trust between the nuclear-armed and arming and disarming, powers. • The trust is: “two or more actors, based on the mutual interpretation of each other’s attitudes and behavior, believe that the other(s) now and in the future, can be relied upon [at a minimum] to desist from acting in ways that will be injurious to their interests and values [and at a maximum]… promote each other’s interests and values.”
Anarchy, nuclear weapons, and the causes of war • The central argument of the book “Man, the State and War”(Waltz, 1959), was ‘war occurs because there is nothing to prevent it- not even the destructive potential of nuclear weapons. • Waltz criticized Morgenthau’s human nature pessimism, considering if human nature explains war, it must also explain cooperation and peace.
Waltz conclusion was that the atomic bomb had no more revolutionized international politics than the advent of other weapons that had been indicator in earlier times as the weapons to end all wars. • Waltz argued that ‘war will be perpetually associated with the existence of separate sovereign states’.
Waltz’s dismissal of world government as a ‘utopian’ solution to the problem of war challenged the views of a small but influenced group of thinkers, both within and outside governments, who had argued in the 1940s and 1950s that international anarchy could not be tolerated in the field of nuclear weaponry. • From the start of the nuclear age, theorists of MAD argued that by making war mutually destructive for both sides, nuclear weapons had robbed the superpowers of war as the ultimate instrument for settling conflicts of interest between them.
Waltz’s policy perception confronted head-on the conventional wisdom underpinning the NPT which had been signed in 1968. • The Treaty had recognized de jure the five NWS that had manufactured and tested nuclear weapons before January 1967. • The Preamble to the Treaty stated that ‘the proliferation of nuclear weapons would seriously enhance the danger of nuclear war’, and in Article VI, the NWS committed themselves to ‘pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control’.
Waltz’s ‘proliferation optimism’ not only challenged the non-proliferation norm in ‘international nuclear society, it also had profound implications for his ‘third-image’ theory that international anarchy is the permissive cause of war.
More may be better • According to Waltz ‘Deterrence does not depend on rationality. It depends on fear. To create fear, nuclear weapons are the best possible means. • The author believes that ‘the bomb’ cannot rescue leaders from the mistrust, misperceptions, miscalculations and accidents that have drivedstates into war in the past and which in the nuclear age could lead to unparalleled disaster.
The impossibility for governments to accept that ‘more may be better’ is that it rests on a gamble of immense proportions. • One might assume 99 percent confidence that nuclear deterrence will indefinitely prevent war between states possessing nuclear weapons, including conventional wars that might otherwise have occurred. • But is the price of a 1 percent likelihood that deterrent rationality might one day fail worth paying, given the terrible consequences of any nuclear wars that do occur?
Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis) • India & Pak. (Kargil) • Waltz repeated his belief that ‘Nuclear Weapons make crisis stable, which is an important reason for believing that India and Pakistan are better off with than without them’. • But author states that fundamental problem confronting such a radical transformation is how states that are mistrustful of the motives and intentions of others can be persuaded to eliminate their nuclear weapons when others might cheat, with all the dangers of nuclear blackmail that this would entail.
Nuclear trust-building through security communities • The promise of trust-building at the international level is the emergence and development of regional security communities and ultimately the achievement of a global security community. • Security Community means: “a group of people which has become ‘integrated’, within territory, of a ‘sense of community’ and of institutions and practices strong enough and widespread enough to assure …dependable expectations of ‘peaceful change’ among its population.”
An important case of nuclear trust-building was the rapprochement that took place between Argentina and Brazil in the 1980s • From a trust-building perspective, three factors were decisive to the cooperation between Argentina and Brazil in relation to the nuclear issue: • Mutual sensitivity to the dangers of spiraling mistrust • Recognition that moves to promote trust entail an acceptance of both uncertainty and vulnerability • The development of common interests and shared values at both the elite and inter-societal levels.
Security dilemma sensibility • A key precondition for developing trust between two antagonist is that decision-makers on both sides come to appreciate that others might be acting out of fear and not evil and crucially that each side recognizes the role that their own actions have played in provoking that fear. • Such sensitivity on the part of leaders to fear-based hostility may be called ‘security dilemma sensibility’.
Accepting uncertainty and vulnerability • The high levels of nuclear transparency achieved between Brazil and Argentina in the second half of the 1980s certainly did not eliminate all uncertainties about each other’s nuclear motives. • Trust and uncertainty are mutually implicated and to trust to any degree is always to risk betrayal.
In the case of Argentina and Brazil, President Alfonsin and Sarney would have been unusually trusting state leaders had they not bear this consideration in mind when they met in 1985 in Foz de laguacu to pledge once more that their nuclear programs were solely for peaceful purposes. • Despite suspicions on the part of some elements in both governments that the other might be secretly developing weapons, they pressed on in the absence of solid guarantees that the other party was not pretending trustworthiness.
The nuclear rapprochement took place because both sides placed their ‘trust in the other’s good faith and in the possibility of checking up on suspicious activities by visits, exchanges etc. none of which were enforceable.
The development of common interest & shared values • The transition to democratic rule in both Argentina (1983) and Brazil (1985) led relationship of pursuing a unilateral approach to security. • By 1990s, both trust each other sufficiently to establish a new joint organization, the Argentine-Brazilian Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC).
The key point is that this uncertainty is not incompatible with relations of trust, and nuclear threats will not figure in the planning of either country’s political and military leaders as long as both leaders continue to act on the basis of the trust they have established. • Even if it is accepted that opposing US pressure on the nuclear issue encouraged Argentine-Brazilian cooperation in the late 70s, the realist explanation fails to recognize how far the nuclear trust-building moves taken by the both governments to change in the identities of Brazil and Argentina from mistrust rivals to trusting partners.
The Argentine-Brazilian case as a model of denuclearization through trust-building • There are important lessons that can be learned from this case for regions where there is potential for a nuclear arms race such as the Middle East.
A comparison with the South Asian nuclear situation is useful, as India and Pakistan has crossed the nuclear threshold and both store warheads separately from delivery vehicles, fear and suspicion of each other’s nuclear intentions has been magnified in a situation where missile flight-times are as short as 5-10 minutes and both sides know that the other has the capability to rapidly assemble and deploy nuclear forces.
Critical Analysis • The competition has basically been in the Rio de la Plata area, which forms a border area between the two countries. There has also been competition for export markets in South America and about overlapping boundary claims in Antarctica. But hatred, ideology, and religion have never been part of the equation between the two countries. • Instead, the rivalry has been serious but restrained. A former US Ambassador to Brazil declared it a gentlemanly rivalry, and I think that describes it well.
The only way to escape the nuclear security dilemma and transcend the condition of uncertainty at the international level, Wheeler contends, is nuclear trust-building through security communities. The concept of security community was developed by Karl Deutsch in the mid-1950s. • Deutsch argues that the peaceful transformation of identities between former enemies within a territory is possible through trust-building, a strong sense of community (recognition of common social problems that can be resolved peacefully) and institution-building. • Actors in such a community would not target each other militarily anymore and nuclear weapons may only be kept for a deterrent role vis-à-vis states outside the regional security community.
Argentina and Brazil, nuclear cooperation can be used to stimulate, encourage and reinforce cooperation in other areas. • Nuclear cooperation was used deliberately and successfully in this manner by the Argentine and Brazilian leadership. Head of State commitment and civil-military cooperation is important to the process of confidence-building measures.
The ABACC model fashioned by Argentina and Brazil may be particularly suitable to other regional situations, where one or more parties has reason, or perceives they have reason, to distrust the global nonproliferation regime.
Other states in what we might call ‘regional insecurity complexes’ such as South Asia or the Middle East already posses nuclear weapons and are spending billions of pounds to further develop them. They have neither generalized trust nor institutionalized trust. • In these states conflict formations and interdependence between them arises from fear, rivalry and mutual perceptions of threat. • How can regional (nuclear) conflict formations be transformed into regional security communities? • The ‘trust-building school’ does not provide a sufficient answer for this problem.