As someone who has worked on nuclear weapons policy for thirty years and recently joined the wider GCR community, I found this piece extremely helpful and convincing. I would draw people's attention in particular the final sentences... "I would suggest, then, that efforts to calculate nuclear risk must be accompanied by efforts to imagine nuclear risk. Only by considering the danger of nuclear war in qualitative terms can we truly appreciate its danger in quantitative terms." This, I believe, applies to any GCRs we choose to study.
Paul Ingram, CSER
Thank you, Seth, for a great piece. I have devoted most of my 30year-odd career to nuclear diplomacy, deterrence and acquisition policies. What I have consciously steered clear of up until now has been scenarios for nuclear use, de-escalation strategies, forecasting, consequences and resilience. This whole experience has had me wondering whether my focus at CSER would benefit from that focus, and what that would look like in research, analysis and efforts to impact. I'm thinking that in the short term we need to look at escalation scenarios, de-escalation options at each stage (off-ramps) for both sides, as well as the consequences of limited or less than limited nuclear exchange.
If you're looking for co-conspirators on your second line of work, Seth, I'd be very keen to talk further. I do think this situation has to be seen as an opportunity, a point of inflexion, to bring attention to some of the dangerous postures all nuclear weapon states engage in.