Psychological and Societal Sources of Nuclear Peace

March 27, 2024

MIIS professor and chair of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies MA program Jeff Knopf has just published a new book chapter. Prof. Knopf’s essay, “Psychological and Societal Sources of Nuclear Peace,” appears in Global Governance and International Cooperation: Managing Global Catastrophic Risks in the 21st Century, edited by Richard Falk and Augusto Lopez-Claros (Routledge, 2024).

The whole book and individual chapter files are available as Open Access and can be read or downloaded at or

The book is a product of an international working group, of which Prof. Knopf was a member, organized by the Global Governance Forum to study the future of international regulations in three issue areas: weapons of mass destruction (WMD), violent conflict, and climate.

In his chapter, which deals with nuclear weapons, Knopf observes that because of current geo-political tensions there is little prospect of negotiating new treaties or reforming existing international institutions. For this reason, Knopf argues, efforts to prevent nuclear war will have to give greater weight to more intangible factors that encourage nuclear restraint. Knopf highlights the roles played by fear of nuclear war, hope that such a catastrophe can be avoided, and – especially for those leaders who might not share these beliefs – activities in civil society that create pressures to limit nuclear dangers.

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