When proliferation causes peace: The psychology of nuclear crises

Crawford School of Public Policy | National Security College
Nuclear Weapons

Event details

Public Lecture

Date & time

Wednesday 01 August 2018


Weston Theatre, Level 1, JG Crawford Building, 1 Lennox Crossing, ANU


Dr Michael Cohen


Chris Farnham

Can nuclear proliferation cause peace? Does the state acquiring of nuclear weapons lead to stability and peace or instability and crises? In his new book, Michael Cohen argues that that nuclear proliferation is dangerous when leaders learn that nuclear coercion is safe and then becomes safe when leaders learn that it is dangerous.

This has counterintuitive implications for where the North Korean nuclear program is headed. US President Donald Trump has little to show for his efforts at the Singapore summit while North Korea has made no substantial progress towards denuclearisation and has persisted with improvements to its nuclear infrastructure. Should negotiations prove pointless and the status quo persists, what would that mean for the Korean Peninsula and Indo-Pacific security?

Launched by Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, When Proliferation Causes Peace discusses the historical cases of nuclear proliferation in South and East Asia from the Cold War onwards, and asks what these experiences can teach us as America and North Korea negotiate for peace and primacy on the Korean Peninsula.

Dr Michael Cohen is a Senior Lecturer at the National Security College whose research addresses international security in the Indo-Pacific and explores the causes of armed interstate conflict. His expertise covers nuclear weapons proliferation, the Korean peninsula, South Asia, deterrence and coercion, leaders, foreign policy decision-making and the US-Australia alliance. Dr Cohen’s co-edited book, North Korea and Nuclear Weapons: Entering the New Era of Deterrence (Georgetown University Press: 2017, with Sung Chull Kim) addressed the impact of North Korea’s nuclear program on the peninsula. Prior to the ANU, he was Senior Lecturer & Coordinator of the Bachelor of Security Studies program at Macquarie University and Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Center for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.

This event will be followed by a book signing and light reception.

Updated:  1 December 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team