Brent Shapiro outlined the challenges around nuclear arms and the choices confronting policy makers in the Great Decisions lecture series March 21. Noting that everyone in the room had lived the majority of their lives under the threat of nuclear war, he observed that a combination of luck, communications and good judgment had kept “the genie in the bottle.”
For leaders of nuclear-armed countries, the lessons of Libya and Iraq stand clear, he said. Once their country gave up nuclear weapons, their grip on power dissipated. The only country to give up their nukes peacefully, Shapiro noted, was South Africa as a prelude to the end of Apartheid.
When considering nuclear strategy, Shapiro said, the key is to put one in the shoes of a nuclear-owning leader and ask what they fear most – a neighbor, their own population, or a superpower. By addressing those fears, disarmament may be possible.
As to Russia’s threatened development of hypersonic nuclear weapons, Shapiro expressed skepticism of their reliability. “It does’t matter how many bullets you have,” he said, “it’s whether you have a way to deliver them.”
Please join UMSL’s International Studies & Programs Department and the World Affairs Council for the fourth segment of the Great Decisions Lecture Series on March 28, 2019. In order to provide insight and perspective on the topic: State of the State Department. Longtime Foreign Service Officer Regina Dennis-Nana will be moderating the session.
The Great Decisions Lecture Series is free and open to the public. The series entails eight weekly sessions moderated by local experts on the most critical challenges to United States foreign policy. For the complete list of topics, please click here.
This event runs for eight consecutive Thursdays in March and April from 12 – 1:30 PM. Great Decisions will be held at the Ethical Society in Clayton at 9001 Clayton Rd – St. Louis, MO 63124.
Just added! Join us at Venture Cafe on April 4 for a special presentation of “Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics” presented by Kurt Aubuchon of Maryville University.