ITEMS OF INTEREST
(Please scroll down!)
The Mind of Empire: China’s History and Modern Foreign Relations, by Christopher A. Ford (University Press of Kentucky, 2010), 378 pp.
Ford’s latest book, “Mind of Empire” traces continuities in Chinese thinking about China and its place in the system of global order over the last 2,500 years -- and muses about their impact upon 21st-Century geopolitics. Among other things, this book analyzes Confucian theory from the perspective of its lessons for political and global order, and tells the story of the complicated encounter and struggle between Sinic conceptions of world order and the Westphalian system of separate, coequal sovereignties that lies at the core of modern international law and global politics outside China.
A key question for the 21st Century: as Beijing apparently continues to conceptualize modern international pluralism through the prism of its own Warring States Period, will China turn out to have internalized Westphalian norms, or will it, as its power grows, increasingly be tempted to try to nudge the world system back more in the direction of arrangements that its ancient conceptions lead it to desire?"
"To Repair, Replace, or Re-imagine the NPT Regime: Lessons from Strategic Politics in Asia," by Christopher A. Ford, in Strategic Asia 2009-2010: Economic Meltdown and Geopolitical Stability(Ashley Tellis, Andrew Marble, & Travis Tanner, eds.) (Seattle: National Bureau for Asian Research, 2009), at 261-92.
In a “Special Study” commissioned for this 2009-2010 edition of the National Bureau for Asian Research’s Strategic Asia series, Ford discusses attitudes toward nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament by key players in Asian security, using this survey to anchor an analysis of the future of the nonproliferation regime.
Nuclear Disarmament, Nonproliferation, and the “Credibility Thesis” by Christopher A. Ford, Hudson Institute Briefing Paper (September 2009)
It is often argued in arms control circles that the key to finally getting better international cooperation against today’s proliferation challenges is for the United States -- and the other nuclear weapons states, but mostly the United States -- to show more disarmament “credibility.” Indeed, this appears to be the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s approach to nonproliferation and disarmament at the United Nations and in connection with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Cycle. Ford, however, thinks this “credibility thesis” argument is spectacularly weak, and explains why.
Nuclear Technology Rights and Wrongs: The NPT, Article IV, and Nonproliferation, by Christopher A. Ford (for the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center)
Everything you ever wanted to know about the debate over the alleged “inalienable right” to nuclear technology under Article IV of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), including why the technology-facilitating conventional wisdom is wrong, and why there exists no such right unqualified by the requirements of nonproliferation safeguardability. An exhaustively researched explanation of the argument the U.S. State Department’s lawyers wouldn’t let Ford make in public.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS POLICY AND DISARMAMENT
"Why Not Nuclear Disarmament?" by Christopher A. Ford, The New Atlantis (Spring 2010), at 3.
An examination of various technical, political, and other challenges confronting the nuclear disarmament agenda, and a call for dialogue and research in the field.
The New Russo-American Strategic Arms Treaty: “New START”
The United States’ 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
For the official report as released by the Defense Department, click here. The reader can also find commentary on it on the NPF “Nuclear Weapons” blog category.
"Test Ban Treaty Take Two: Banning Tests Won’t Stop Nuclear Weapons Development," by Christopher A. Ford, The New Atlantis (Summer 2009), at 112-116
Ford muses about what impact the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would really have upon nuclear weapons development around the world. (A hint: the Treaty won’t stop it.)
Nukes and the Vow: Security Strategy as Peacework by Christopher A. Ford (essay for on-line symposium of Upaya Compassionate Action Network [July 2009])
Buddhist Compassion and nuclear disarmament, though probably not quite as you’ve usually heard them linked before.
Speaking Candidly About Nonproliferation and Disarmament, by Christopher A. Ford (presentation to 3rd Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, United Nations, New York [May 5, 2009])
Some inconvenient truths about the challenges that friends of disarmament will need to help address if that noble goal is to be achieved ... and sustained.
Charged by Congress with finding and articulating a bipartisan consensus on big-picture strategic nuclear issues, this Commission did so across the board -- with the exception of CTBT ratification (on which commissioners divided sharply). The report has been panned by disarmament advocates for a “failure of imagination” on account of its distinctly skeptical take on nuclear disarmament, but defenders tout its candor and its refusal to make mere hope into a security strategy. Since almost all its points did indeed represent a bipartisan consensus, it’s an important read. (The Commissioners’ CTBT debate is also lively and interesting -- and includes what are probably the first public references to clandestine Russian, and perhaps Chinese, low-yield nuclear testing.)
A recent CFR study, from the William Perry/Brent Scowcroft task force, opines upon nuclear weapons policy. Solid, articulate mainstream thinking.
INTELLIGENCE AND INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT
The Admirals' Advantage: U.S. Navy Operational Intelligence in World War II and the Cold War, by Christopher A. Ford (Naval Institute Press, 2005).
Ford's first book, and apparently the only history ever written of U.S. Navy "OPINTEL" practice and organization.
OTHER SITES WORTH YOUR ATTENTION
Hudson Institute -- Home of Christopher Ford, this website’s parent Center for Technology and Global Security, and much else besides. Founded by ex-RAND futurist, systems analyst, and nuclear strategist Herman Kahn, of “Thinking the Unthinkable” fame.
The New Atlantis -- A journal of technology and society affiliated with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, TNA “hopes to be at the center of redefining politics for the technological age -- by helping scientists, policymakers, and citizens deal more wisely and more creatively with the promise and perils of our nation’s future.” (Full disclosure: Ford is a contributing editor.)
Nonproliferation Policy Education Center -- Tough questions and much sensible thinking about nonproliferation issues, the weaknesses of nuclear safeguards, the perils of unrestricted access to nuclear weapons-facilitating technology, and the relative merits and demerits of nuclear power vis-a-vis other energy sources.
Arms Control Today -- The main trade journal of the arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament world; good on-line archiving for past issues. A product of the Arms Control Association.
National Institute for Public Policy -- Some of the most articulate and best-informed hawks out there: Keith Payne’s home base, with Bob Joseph, J.D. Crouch, and Mark Esper as well.
Center for Nonproliferation Studies -- Monterey think-tank and academic institution devoted to nonproliferation; it actually educates students as well as publishing articles by and for the “usual suspects” in the field. Also produces the Nonproliferation Review.
Center for Security Policy -- A go-to site for “peace through strength” thinking. Frank Gaffney’s creation.
Nuclear Threat Initiative -- Threat-Reduction-R-Us. Home site for a sprawling and well-funded program. Lots of detailed background briefs available online; also check out the Global Security Newswire.
Arms Control Wonk -- Well-informed blogging on arms control issues, led by Jeffrey Lewis. Not necessarily very far out of the box on big picture policy questions, but an excellent resource for keeping abreast of relevant news and commentary.
Mountbatten Centre for International Studies -- Run by the redoubtable John Simpson, “Mr. Memory” of the NPT Review process and a a longstanding NGO advisor to the UK delegations.
Reaching Critical Will -- Disarmament advocacy website that believes in providing viewers with access to lots of relevant resources. A far easier way to get NPT statements, for instance, than the United Nations website.
Madrona Institute -- A fledgling institution dedicated to bringing the insights and methodologies of complexity theory to the challenges of conflict resolution in the 21st Century.
VERTIC -- A verification-focused arms controller think tank.