Lectures on Nuclear Theory by L. Landau, Y. Smorodinsky

By L. Landau, Y. Smorodinsky

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By L. Landau, Y. Smorodinsky

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42 Reputation for unwillingness to use nuclear weapons may be driven by a desire to dissuade future use of nuclear weapons by other nuclear states, that is, extend the shadow of the future in order to achieve reciprocity in nonuse. Reputation concerns operate as self-deterrents here. The understanding of reputation as used in neoliberal institutionalist theory is useful in this context. The theory of decentralized cooperation gives reputation a central role. ”43 Axelrod contends that cooperation can occur without a central authority on the basis of reciprocity and if the “shadow of the future” is long enough for future interactions.

This is why countries, similar to firms, spend enormous amounts of money on public diplomacy and propaganda, especially in other states. In addition, individual leaders may also be driven by reputation considerations. They may want to protect their personal reputation; translating this consideration to the international realm would mean avoidance of a certain kind of warfare that may simply make them and their nation look like immoral and unlawful actors. Nuclear arms fall into the category of a weapon that, if used, could elicit considerable negative reputation to the leader who ordered it.

In part, this contribution originated from a Cold War environment of competition in reputation, with the Third World as audience. In China’s case, ses o the d t on o on-Use f N i i Tra the norm has more recently been perpetuated by Beijing’s weaknesses in the number of nuclear weapons it possesses and a desire to appear as a responsible great power. The Soviet and Chinese contributions also help to demonstrate that nonuse does not necessarily have a close relationship with domestically driven political culture.

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