Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Cigdem Cidam




nuclear warfare, Cold War, strategy, military


Nearly 70 years after the United States first sparked the nuclear debate by bombing Japan at the end of the Second World War, we continue to lack a cogent solution to the nuclear issue. Despite the fact that the bombs which killed hundreds of thousands in 1945 pale in comparison to the weapons in the arsenals of today’s nuclear powers, nuclear arms have fallen from the public eye since the end of the Cold War. Yet even as the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s has receded into memory, academics have continued to debate what to do with the deadliest technology ever devised by humankind. Some advocate its spread in the name of deterrence, while others argue for the primacy of traditional arms control and the preservation of the status quo. Today’s multipolar, post-Cold War, post-9/11 world is a far cry from the superpower-dominated world of the Cold War, however, and the threat of nuclear war has taken a back seat to the specter of nuclear terror. With this new threat, I argue, come new vulnerabilities and new national security considerations with which deterrence theory and traditional arms control methods are ill-equipped to deal. In this paper, I address the nuclear question head-on by engaging critically with deterrence theorists and arms control advocates before advancing what I see as the only true solution to the nuclear threat: disarmament worldwide.