Skip to main content

CISSM Global Forum | The Patron’s Dilemma: Recklessness and Restraint under Nuclear Umbrellas

Back to All Events
NATO Flags

Dr. Neil Narang is Research Director at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Event Description

Despite an ongoing policy debate within the United States about the value of alliances, research suggests that the complex network of security relationships that the United States and other major patrons have established since the end of World War II have important and understudied implications for a wide range of bargaining and cooperation dynamics. To tackle this pressing policy problem, this project delves into the strategic behavior of states in alliances with nuclear security guarantors or patrons. It asks two main questions. First, how do nuclear umbrellas produce risky security outcomes – namely, moral hazard – through which client states might recklessly entrap nuclear patrons into military engagement with adversaries? And second, how can nuclear patrons design alliances to induce restraint among client states, prevent these risky outcomes, and yield positive dividends for the international system? To explore these questions, we pursue three lines of inquiry. First, we develop a new theoretical framework that explores the duality of nuclear umbrellas – their burdens and their benefits. Second, we employ a series of large-n statistical tests exploring the relationship of the United States and other patron states with their various treaty allies and adversaries over time. Third, we examine this logic and mechanisms for both recklessness and restraint through a series of in-depth case studies, including Taiwan and NATO. Dr. Narang will conclude with valuable insights and recommendations for policymakers focused on grand strategy and the broad network of U.S. alliances.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Neil Narang is Research Director at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He currently serves as Advisor to the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Strategic Resilience Initiative, and he previously served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy on a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. His research primarily focuses on international security, conflict management and peacebuilding, and the relationship between international institutions and conflict. He is the editor of the books Emerging Technologies and International Stability (2021) and Nuclear Posture and Nonproliferation Policy: Causes and Consequences for the Spread of Nuclear Weapons (2015), and his articles have appeared in the Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution among others. He received his Ph.D. in political science from UC San Diego and he holds a B.A. in molecular cell biology and political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Browne Center for International Politics, a nonproliferation policy fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

 


For Media Inquiries:
Megan Campbell
Director of Communications
For More from the School of Public Policy:
Sign up for SPP News

You Also Might Be Interested In…