f_0016641_14383

f_0016641_14383 - BOOK REVIEWS Identity and the Bomb by...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations BOOK REVIEWS Identity and the Bomb by Michael Busch The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions, and Foreign Policy . By Jacques E.C. Hymans. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN: 0521850762 Given the increasingly grim forecast of a “nuclear renaissance,” and renewed concerns of uncontrollable atomic weapons proliferation, Jacques E.C. Hymans’s The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation provides a refreshingly positive antidote to the glum literature on international security. Traditional security studies generally seek to explain why so few countries have acquired nuclear arsenals, despite widespread desire and technical capacity in the international arena. In stark contrast, Hymans asks why any nation-state has the bomb at all. Rejecting conventional realist, institutionalist, and constructivist approaches to understanding foreign policy decision-making, Hymans crafts a new theoretical model for shedding light on why certain countries make the “revolutionary” decision to go nuclear. Drawing deeply from social psychology perspectives on human behavior, Hymans counter-intuitively argues that most decision makers are not naturally inclined to want nuclear weapons, nor are they willing to assume the grave responsibilities of having them. At the heart of Hymans’ theoretical framework rests the notion of “national identity conceptions” (NICs). According to Hymans, a NIC “is an individual’s understanding of the nation’s identity–his or her sense of what the nation naturally stands for and of how high it naturally stands, in comparison to others in the international arena.” 1 The dual dimensions of national identity conceptions identified by Hymans generate four ideal-types into which state decision makers can be classified. Of the four, Hymans postulates that only ideal-typical “oppositional nationalist leaders – who experience the combined emotions of fear and pride—are likely to be highly motivated for nuclear weapons acquisition, while leaders of other types of NICs are not likely to be so motivated.” 2 Hymans holds his theory up against the fire of four distinct case studies. Bookending this set are the nuclear histories of two countries that acquired the Michael Busch is Research Associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies and Adjunct Lecturer of Political Science at the City College of New York. He is currently a fellow at the Center for the Humanities and a doctoral student in International Relations where he specializes in the politics of humanitarianism and the United Nations. 165
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BUSCH The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations bomb: France and India. These cases are balanced by those of two more countries—Australia and Argentina —that could have, but did not. Each boasts a creative blend of quantitative analysis and considerable archival research that elegantly supports Hymans’ hypothesis. The nuclear narratives spun by Hymans
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 351 taught by Professor Shaw during the Fall '08 term at Boise State.

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f_0016641_14383 - BOOK REVIEWS Identity and the Bomb by...

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