International politics, as a practice and as an academic discipline, has been adjusting to nuclear realities since the first atomic bomb. World religions also have sought to accommodate their understandings to the nuclear age. Nuclear weapons pose the ultimate realist test and ethical challenge by throwing questions of security, power, interest, and morality into stark relief. The cultural heritage of the nine nuclear-armed states includes the five great world religions. Does religious cultural heritage influence nuclear decision-making? Realism predicts decisions will be driven solely by questions of security and power, but religious cultural influences might affect nuclear decisions in ways state-level or system-level analysis would not predict. If religious cultural heritage affects leaders’ nuclear decisions, evidence of influence should be present in the decision-making. In this paper, I go beyond the operational code framework of political psychology and international relations to study the influence of religious cultural heritage on nuclear decision-making. First, I survey prior work on nuclear proliferation, nuclear ethics, religion, strategic culture, international politics, and operational code. I then go beyond the operational code methodology by proposing a model of how religious cultural heritage can influence decision-making frameworks and by offering a tool to characterize decision-making frameworks. I illustrate how my methodology could be applied in practice. A summary concludes the paper.
|Keywords:||Operational Code, Nuclear Weapons, Religion|
Doctoral Candidate, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA