Global Risk and Crisis Management Program
The Temptation of Realism and the Melancholy of Liberalism: Questioning the Role of Nuclear Technology [in Japanese]
Summary On November 18, 2022, Asteion, a magazine that analyzes various issues around the world, released its latest issue, featuring the Russo-Ukrainian War, in which Professor Akiyama’s article was published. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, countless discussions about the use as well as the role of nuclear weapons unfolded. In his article, Professor Akiyama first provides a framework for considering the impact of possessing nuclear weapons in wartime, and based on this, he examines the utilization of nuclear power in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The professor points out that Russia has repeatedly sent signals that made the US and Europe strongly aware of the presence of nuclear weapons, and argues that this signaling had, to some extent, deterred the US and Europe from taking action. At the same time, however, he explains that the "stability/instability paradox" created by Russia has also served as a deterrent to its own actions. The professor then describes the impact that the war in Ukraine has had on the nuclear arms control regime, and outlines the long-term consequences on the international order that the actions of both the United States and Russia have caused. One of these effects has been the preservation of a realist balance-of-power type order within the liberal international order. He also points out how relative the discussion of "justice" regarding nuclear weapons is, considering each country's stance towards the TPNW, and emphasizes that nuclear weapons are viewed with a "double standard." Finally, the professor argues that in addition to the U.S.-Russia conflict, tensions are also rising between the U.S. and China, and that as the impact of nuclear weapons escalates, rules should be provided to protect the competition and confrontation between the U.S., Russia, and China.