Veto Players, Nuclear Energy, and Nonproliferation: Domestic Institutional Barriers to a Japanese Bomb

Jacques E.C. Hymans
2011 International Security  
Early research on nuclear proliferation typically asserted that states' decisions to acquire nuclear weapons were a simple function of their international security needs, assuming adequate technical capacity to act on those needs. Starting in the mid-1980s, however, scholars started to notice that the causes of states' nuclear weapons choices were not so straightforward. 1 Today, the overwhelming majority of scholarly work on nuclear proliferation argues that states do not directly respond to
more » ... e international environment in making their nuclear weapons choices, but rather that they "ªlter security challenges through one or more domestic prisms." 2 The particular "domestic prisms" noted by scholars include top state leaders' national identity conceptions, 3 the economic interests of their core political support bases, 4 the empire-building desires of state bureaucracies, 5 and wider societal norms. 6 The recent research on the role of domestic actors in shaping states' nuclear preferences has greatly enhanced scholars' ability to explain the patterns of proliferation and nonproliferation around the world. One limitation of the recent literature, however, is that different theoretical models have tended to assert, or to assume, the primacy of one or another type of domestic actor in Jacques E.C. Hymans is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California.
doi:10.1162/isec_a_00059 fatcat:wdmiuxphnbdbnk27ennhd4mqzm