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Reading List July 14, 2019

The Impending Nuclear Crisis

The doomsday clock is inching towards midnight. A reading list for a time of new nuclear threats.

This week saw a spate of news stories all pointing menacingly to a new nuclear crisis. Iran announced it has now surpassed the cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal; North Korea successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit targets anywhere in the continental United States; and the House of Representatives approved a provision that requires Congressional approval before the president would be authorized to use military force against Tehran.

Given the rising tensions with Iran, Congress’s move brought to mind Elaine Scarry’s argument that, “Nuclear weapons and oversight are simply, starkly incompatible. You can’t have nuclear weapons and Congress. You can’t have nuclear weapons and a citizenry. The things can’t coexist.”

With the hands on the doomsday clock once again hovering close to midnight, we took a dive into our archive for more perspective. The essays below analyze our current threats, look to new solutions, and offer lessons from the Nuclear Freeze Movement, which was founded by one of Boston Review‘s regular contributors, the late Randall Forsberg.

Stephen Phelan

The Doomsday Clock is set to two minutes to midnight—the same position it held in 1953, when the United States and USSR detonated their first hydrogen bombs. So why don't we make movies about nuclear war anymore? 

Andrew Lanham

Trump's populism, like that of Reagan before him, can be resisted through grassroots protest.

Elaine Scarry Simon Waxman

To be a nuclear-armed state is to invest the executive with dictatorial powers over immeasurable destructive capacity.

Elaine Scarry

Can democracy protect us against terrorism?

Elaine Scarry

Once eight countries have nuclear weapons, people everywhere on earth potentially ‘have’ them.

Hans Blix

The Middle East and global arms control.

R. Nicholas Burns

Remarks from the U.S. Under Secretary of State.

Michael McFaul Abbas Milani

Normalizing relations will help Iran and the United States.

Boston Review

What can we do to prevent a nuclear catastrophe?

Randall Forsberg

Modern weapons are so destructive that war is less and less likely to take place.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

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But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.

Hannah Craig

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