January 18, 2016

THERE GO SOME FOLKS WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND THE ELECTORATE...:

J Street takes aim at GOP senators who opposed Iran deal (JTA, January 17, 2016)

J Street will focus this year on unseating Republican senators in Illinois and Wisconsin who led opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

A number of years ago, we were at the neighborhood 4th of July barbecue and a few of us were discussing nuclear weapons with a Dartmouth professor who is a leading authority in the field.  It was his position that such weapons are so terrible that no one would support using them.  We argued that the American people would like nothing better than to nuke Iran.  A couple years later, he and another of the neighborhood professors who were there published a journal article concluding precisely that:

Atomic Aversion: Experimental Evidence on Taboos, Traditions, and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons 

How strong are normative prohibitions on state behavior? The authors examine this question by analyzing anti-nuclear norms, sometimes called the "nuclear taboo," using an original survey experiment to evaluate American attitudes regarding nuclear use. The authors find that the public has only a weak aversion to using nuclear weapons and that this aversion has few characteristics of an "unthinkable" behavior or taboo. Instead, public attitudes about whether to use nuclear weapons are driven largely by consequentialist considerations of military utility. Americans' willingness to use nuclear weapons increases dramatically when nuclear weapons provide advantages over conventional weapons in destroying critical targets. 

Posted by at January 18, 2016 5:13 PM

  

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