Works in Progress

Israeli Public Opinion on The Use of Nuclear Weapons: Lessons From Terror Management Theory

Under Review

ABSTRACT: When do people become more willing to endorse a preemptive nuclear strike against a foreign country? Utilizing interdisciplinary theoretical insights from international relations and social psychology as well as original experimental survey data from Israel, this work aims to answer this question. Influential strands of scholarship argue that both the public and political elites have internalized anti-nuclear norms. Critics, however, assert that the moral nuclear taboo lacks robustness. The work joins this debate by offering a novel theoretical framework informed by terror management theory (TMT) and suggests that people are more likely to support extreme forms of warfare (e.g., nuclear strikes) when reminded of their own mortality. Thus, consequentialist factors, such as perceived utility, and psychological factors, such as moral foundations theory and TMT can be causal mechanisms in the support for nuclear weapons. In an age of populism characterized by the rise of nationalist leaders with authoritarian tendencies, the main finding is a source of significant concern.

Introducing CWAD –The Chemical Weapons Attacks Dataset

Ongoing data collection

ABSTRACT: Chemical weapons (CW) have been used in countless attacks in the 20th and 21st century. Although they have been used widely since and heavily in Syrian Civil War, empirical research has been limited due to the lack of a systematic collection of CW events. CWAD provides a data collection effort for chemical weapons attacks 1899-2020. The  utility of the dataset is illustrated by providing characteristics of attacks and emphasize patterns of targets and perpetrators. CWAD bears considerable promise in providing answers to new and old research questions and opens up new avenues for research on the use of CW. This dataset reveals interesting trends, showing how it can contribute to our understanding of the use of CW in conflict. It empirically supports qualitative works that argue that a CWs norm is ambiguous and its interpretation and implementation context-dependent.

Free Riding in Nuclear Counterproliferation

Manuscript in preparation of submission

ABSTRACT: Under what conditions does the international community condone aggressive counterproliferation efforts? The vast majority of the international community agrees to a policy of nuclear nonproliferation. Most states have signed and ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and oppose the development of new nuclear states. In contrast to non-proliferation, few countries have openly admitted to using aggressive counterproliferation tools, including intelligence operations, cyber-attacks, assassinations and conventional military strikes. However, when they successfully do, the international response is largely limited to verbal condemnation. The article develops insights into this seemingly reluctant response by third-party states to counterproliferation. Employing process tracing, the work consults a variety of rich archival resources including official documents to study the international responses to counterproliferation. An in-depth analysis of Operation Opera and Operation Desert Fox demonstrate that international consent is largely limited to verbal condemnation to aggressive nuclear counterproliferation. The majority of International actors is free riding on other states’ aggressive tactics and efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. States condone aggressive methods if they prevent rogue states from nuclear proliferation, especially when nonproliferation had limited success. This work will advance an understanding of international behaviour in response to selected military actions. It further provides a framework of strategic reasoning for preventive counterproliferation strikes.