LIVE STREAM At 12:15pm : Thomas Schelling Thinks Through The Thinkable On Iran


The New America Foundation/American Strategy Program is hosting an event TODAY, Friday April 16 featuring Nobel Laureate in Economics Thomas Schelling.
Here is what the Nobel Prize Committee had to say about Schelling’s work upon awarding him the prize in 2005:

Against the backdrop of the nuclear arms race in the late 1950s, Thomas Schelling’s book The Strategy of Conflict set forth his vision of game theory as a unifying framework for the social sciences. Schelling showed that a party can strengthen its position by overtly worsening its own options, that the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack, and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation. These insights have proven to be of great relevance for conflict resolution and efforts to avoid war.
Schelling’s work prompted new developments in game theory and accelerated its use and application throughout the social sciences. Notably, his analysis of strategic commitments has explained a wide range of phenomena, from the competitive strategies of firms to the delegation of political decision power.

Schelling will address a variety of questions related to Iran’s nuclear program and its possible implications for American strategy.
TWN Publisher Steve Clemons will moderate the event and New America Foundation/Nuclear Strategy and Nonproliferation Initiative Jeffrey Lewis will offer remarks as well.
This event will STREAM LIVE here at The Washington Note.
— Ben Katcher


5 comments on “LIVE STREAM At 12:15pm : Thomas Schelling Thinks Through The Thinkable On Iran

  1. Jerry says:

    Irresoluteness has been the problem not nuclear blackmail.
    Neither the Palestinians nor Israel can exist without outside support, and the outside supporters have agreed to a Two State Solution.
    The point has been reached where what the Palestinians or the Isralies demand is no longer determinative.
    One way or another the ‘World’
    wants this problem solved; there is no other option but constructive engagement for the Palestinians or Israelies if they have any hope of maximizing their self-interests.
    It is a question of standing up or being stood up.


  2. Mr.Murder says:

    Unbalanced deterrent capability is what we presently see employed. The strategic result is an untenable policy re: the I/P problem.


  3. erichwwk says:

    I remain puzzled about the lack of interest in nuclear weapons, especially in regard to how “the mushroom cloud” fear mongering has been used to justify secrecy and political power.
    As one who finds the issue of an Iranian nuclear weapon rather trivial re. to what the bomb does to essentially enslave the domestic population of the U.S., I find it refreshing that someone involved in nuclear weapons from a very early point has an opportunity to speak before an audience of policy wonks. Kudos to the NAF and Steve Clemons for hosting this discussion by Thomas Schelling! Pretty articulate and observant for someone that just turned ninety.
    Makes one wonder if the Obama administration is not continuing the Bush policy of frightening the public into continuing military budget escalation, merely repacking Saddam as alQaeda.
    A glimmer of hope. Even Glenn Beck seems to be able to shed old thinking, and question current U.S. military spending:!
    Anything to give legitimacy to the unitary executive.


  4. Yousaf says:

    Interesting that Shelling came out unequivocally against missile defense.


  5. questions says:

    First off, many many thanks for this one! What an interesting set of issues to puzzle through. Now for some fun….
    Poor poor Thomas Schelling! (snark) The Israelis have clearly taken over because the man thinks that Iran is serious about a bomb. And the man thinks Israelis think seriously about their own use of nukes super super carefully. Clearly (snark) a hasbarite! And he doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with Israeli nukes or think that they are causing an arms race or that they are most likely causing Iran to want nukes. Clearly the guy’s worried about losing his academic job if he criticizes Israel! (end snark here.)
    I think his analysis needs to be taken seriously by all those who have freaked about Israeli nukes, and those who are freaking about Iranian nukes. There’s a lot to piece together here. It certainly is swaying my view of Iran.
    I think perhaps the most interesting point he made is that the international culture of standards and policy discussion among experts is utterly crucial. That the US didn’t think about securing weapons as THE central issue for so long, that we don’t know how much Iranians think about this stuff is of great concern.
    More open societies, more open dialogue, more conferences and more e-mails — clearly this is the goal. If we reassure one another that we’re not about to bomb one another, if we signal and we have some inside knowledge, we do better. When we demonize and cut each other off, we do worse.
    His sense of the taboo is really something, and his sense of nukes more as a bargaining chip than as actual tools of mass destruction is also really interesting.
    Many things to think about, and again, many thanks for arranging this and streaming it! I would hope for many more events of this caliber as you can set them up!


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