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Modeling the Arms Race


Nuclear Proliferation game box-top. Click to enlarge.Following up on Tom and Meredyth’s presentation and post: the Saperstein article referenced dealt with modeling interactions among nuclear states. A recent article by William C. Potter, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, entitled The Second Last Chance: American Power and Nuclear Nonproliferation points out the need for non-proliferation modeles and theorists to consider the effects of regimes and terrorist agents on our notions of non-proliferation.Potter’s article is an extensive review of the book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe by Graham Allison (Harvard Kennedy School of Government). Because of its call for the U.S. to change its current theories and practices of approaching non-proliferation, the connection with Saperstein’s model is an important one. I don’t know whether Saperstein, or any think-tanker worrying about such modifications has the ear of the government. At the very least, the chaotic behavior of nuclear-arms possessing states as predicted by the Saperstein model will certainly be more prevalent as the highly non-linear interactions of terrorist agents and rogue states are factored into the model.(Note: the image at the top of the post is from the card game Nuclear Proliferation by the FlyingBuffalo company. From the blurb on the box: “It’s a sarcastic, humorous look at the futility of Atomic Warfare in the post-cold war 1990s.”)