The Messy Nuclear Landscape: Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to Explore a Feasible Scenario for Global Nuclear Disarmament

Title

The Messy Nuclear Landscape: Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to Explore a Feasible Scenario for Global Nuclear Disarmament

College

Arts & Letters

Program

Ph.D. International Studies

Publication Date

3-28-2019

Abstract

Nuclear weapons are seemingly permanent fixtures in international relations. Although nuclear abolitionists and actors within the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have taken steps towards eliminating nuclear weapons, longstanding realist logic suggests nuclear disarmament is nonviable. On the other hand, some realists have suggested global nuclear disarmament is feasible, given certain international instabilities are stabilized and special care is taken during diplomatic negotiations. This presents an opportunity to test this prediction using fuzzy cognitive mapping, a computational modeling technique that identifies problems, stakeholders, and stakeholders’ components in order to determine scenarios that solve complex disputes in a collectively beneficial way. This study identifies two problems regarding nuclear disarmament. First, following realist logic, nuclear weapon states resist giving up nuclear weapons, despite agreements to disarm. Second, states have interest in maintaining certain levels of secrecy, while the IAEA has interest in safeguarding nuclear materials. Synthesis between these problems requires that solving one does not make the other worse. Therefore, this study tests various scenarios and finds that, given present-day international instabilities are stabilized, nuclear disarmament is feasible if three conditions are met: First, a global disarmament agreement must not unreasonably affect states’ sovereign rights outside of the agreement. Second, states outlying the NPT must be brought into the negotiations. Finally, present states with nuclear arsenals adopt the IAEA’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the Additional Protocol as a measure of good faith. A final factor suggests states’ rights to the technology inevitably means states should have an ability to reproliferate in the event of future international instability that threatens global security. Once these steps are taken and technological rights guaranteed, this model suggests global nuclear disarmament is possible.

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The Messy Nuclear Landscape: Using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to Explore a Feasible Scenario for Global Nuclear Disarmament


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