Machiavelli in the Ivory Tower

collage with university towers, chess pieces, a tank on a beach, smoke

A Monthly Videocast Series on
Arms Control and International Security Issues

Ms. Sarah Bidgood, CNS | Dr. Hanna Notte, VCDNP

 

Current Episode: April 22, 2022

Episode 03: Nuclear Escalation and the War in Ukraine: A Conversation with Dr. Kirstin ven Bruusgaard

The third episode of the videocast series deals with nuclear escalation and the war in Ukraine. Hosts Sarah Bidgood and Dr. Hanna Notte invite Dr. Kristin ven Bruusgaard, a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, to discuss the implications of Russian nuclear strategy and the modernization of its conventional forces for the ongoing war in Ukraine. Will the Russian government likely decide to resort to nuclear weapons? Tune in to find out.


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Past Episodes

  • Episode 02: Nuclear Weapons and the War in Ukraine: A Conversation with Dr. Mariana Budjeryn
    (Also available as a podcast: Spotify | Apple | Amazon)

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    March 17, 2022
    In the second episode of the series, Sarah and Hanna speak with Dr. Mariana Budjeryn, research associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. Dr. Budjeryn discusses her new book, Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2022). In their conversation, the hosts and guest draw connections between Dr. Budjeryn’s findings and the war in Ukraine, focusing in particular on the implications of Russia’s unprovoked invasion for nonproliferation and arm control and Russia’s spurious allegations that Ukraine is pursuing a nuclear capability. They also question some of the broad assumptions held within International Relations about deterrence and the former Soviet space and discuss how the expert and academic communities can best contribute to policymaker understanding amidst the current crisis.

    Inheriting the Bomb by Mariana Budjeryn book cover

    Russian President Borys Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton bump elbows after the signature of the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances to Ukraine in connection with its accession to the NPT on December 6, 1994 with Ukraine’s President Leonid Kuchma (far right), and British Prime Minister John Major (not in the photo). Photo credit: Greg Gibson, AP Photo.

    Russian President Borys Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton bump elbows after the signature of the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances to Ukraine in connection with its accession to the NPT on December 6, 1994 with Ukraine’s President Leonid Kuchma (far right), and British Prime Minister John Major (not in the photo). Photo credit: Greg Gibson, AP Photo.

    Servicemen of the 12th GUMO (General Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the former Soviet Union) load a tactical nuclear weapon, likely a warhead for a short-range ballistic missile SS-21 Scarab, on the back of a truck in Ukraine, January 1992. The removal of some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Ukraine began in September 1991 and was completed by May 5, 1992. Photo credit: Vladimir Solovyev, TASS

    Servicemen of the 12th GUMO (General Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the former Soviet Union) load a tactical nuclear weapon, likely a warhead for a short-range ballistic missile SS-21 Scarab, on the back of a truck in Ukraine, January 1992. The removal of some 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Ukraine began in September 1991 and was completed by May 5, 1992. Photo credit: Vladimir Solovyev, TASS


  • Episode 01: Nuclear Doctrine and the Law of Armed Conflict: A Conversation with Professor Scott Sagan
    (Also available as a podcast: Spotify | Apple | Amazon)

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    February 1, 2022
    In the first episode of the series, Sarah and Hanna speak with Prof. Scott Sagan, who is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. The hosts discuss with Professor Sagan his recently coauthored article in International Security entitled, “The Rule of Law and the Role of Strategy in US Nuclear Doctrine.” The conversation tackles the relationship between nuclear doctrine and the law of armed conflict, related ethical and legal concerns, the implications for US policymakers and military planners, recommendations for the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, and more generally the dangers inherent in “siloing” legal and strategic studies.


About the Videocast


Series Teaser

Machiavelli in the Ivory Tower is a new videocast series on arms control, nonproliferation, and international security issues. In each episode, hosts Sarah Bidgood and Hanna Notte discuss cutting-edge research and what it means for the most pressing challenges facing policymakers today. In conversation with expert guests, Sarah and Hanna break down these complex topics in ways that bridge the divide between scholarship and the real world. Join them each month as they bring Machiavelli into the Ivory Tower!

From the hosts:

By virtue of our physical location and expertise, we look at the international security landscape through different lenses. One of us (Hanna) has a background in Track II mediation and works on Russian foreign policy, US/Europe-Russia strategic relations, arms control and security issues in the Middle East, and chemical weapons, among other issues. The other (Sarah) focuses on US-Russia bilateral cooperation in the areas of nonproliferation, arms control, and risk reduction, as well as the international disarmament and nonproliferation regime more broadly. Yet, despite these differences, we share a passion for WMD policy—especially in the US/European-Russian and Eurasian context. Over the last two years, these interests have led us to collaborate on projects relating to Russian military innovation, state-level radiological weapons programs, and the future of US and Russian efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, among others. In launching Machiavelli in the Ivory Tower, we wanted to bring our diverse yet complementary perspectives to bear in exploring new issues that we think are the most important. We couldn’t be more excited to share the results with you, and we’re glad to have you along for the ride!

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In the News

April 19, 2022: “Why the Ukraine war does not mean more countries should seek nuclear weapons” in Middlebury Institute of International Studies


About the Hosts

Sarah Bidgood

Sarah Bidgood

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Sarah Bidgood is the director of the Eurasia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California. Her research focuses on US-Soviet and US-Russia nonproliferation cooperation, as well as the international nonproliferation regime more broadly. She is the co-editor of the book Once and Future Partners: The United States, Russia, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, which was published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in 2018. She also leads the Young Women in Nonproliferation Initiative at CNS.


Hanna Notte Headshot

Hanna Notte

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Dr. Hanna Notte is a Senior Research Associate with the VCDNP, focusing on arms control and security issues involving Russia, the Middle East, their intersection, and implications for US and European policy. Prior to that, she was a Senior Political Officer with The Shaikh Group (TSG), an NGO focused on track two mediation and informal diplomacy in the Middle East. She completed her doctorate at Oxford University in 2018 on the topic of Russian-US cooperation in the Middle East. Dr. Notte was a visiting researcher in 2015–16 with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Carnegie Moscow Center in Moscow, Russia. Other visiting research stints have included the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation’s Syria/Iraq office in Beirut, Lebanon and the International Institute for Strategic Studies Middle East office in Manama, Bahrain.


Video Series Design and Production Specialist

Eduardo Fuji headshot

Eduardo Fujii

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Eduardo Fujii is the Computer Programmer and Systems Analyst at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute for International Studies. Since 1996, Eduardo has been writing software for a variety of CNS’s database-driven web applications, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Disarmament Database, the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) decision making model applied to emergency preparedness, the WMD Terrorism Database, the CBRN Incident and Response database (IRD), the Iraq Inspections database, CNS/UNMOVIC Iraq Abstracts, and others. Eduardo is also an award-winning photographer and accomplished videographer, responsible for filming CNS seminars and lectures and making them available online and on cable TV. Eduardo was one of the first MIIS students to intern at the UN Department for Disarmament Affairs in New York, NY and in 2004 he worked as a consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.


Photo Attributions

St. John’s College, Cambridge, UK
By CharlieRCD – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https-//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5789057

St. John’s College second Court, Cambridge, UK
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License- CC BY-SA 3.0

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