What history can teach about arms control – Online seminar with Dr. James Cameron

In this online seminar, we will discuss James Cameron's paper: "What History Can Teach” as published in the Spring 2020 issue of Daedalus, Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age.

If you want to participate, please register here. All participants will receive the paper and a Zoom invitation in advance.

The author offers a short presentation, followed by Dr. Ian Anthony (Director of the European Security Programme at SIPRI) as discussant, and a Q&A session. 

Abstract: Most analyses of arms control during the Cold War focus on its role in maintaining strategic stability between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, history shows that the superpowers’ search for strategic stability is insufficient to explain the roots and course of negotiations. This essay argues that arms control was used as one tool in a broader strategy of war prevention, designed to contain a series of challenges to U.S. and Soviet dominance of the international system that both sides worried could upset bipolarity and increase the chances of conflict between them. At the same time, U.S. policy-makers balanced this joint superpower interest with Washington’s extended deterrent commitment to its allies, which ultimately upheld the integrity of the system as a whole. The essay concludes that today’s leaders should integrate arms control into a more comprehensive strategy of political accommodation fit for twenty-first-century conditions.


James Cameron is a research associate in the Department of War Studies, King's College London and an affiliate with the Oslo Nuclear Project at the University of Oslo. He has held fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and Yale's International Security Studies. James is the author of The Double Game: The Demise of America's First Missile Defense System and the Rise of Strategic Arms Limitation (Oxford University Press, 2018). 

Published Mar. 27, 2020 2:15 PM - Last modified Apr. 6, 2020 2:16 PM