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This is a linkpost for an article that Haydn Belfield and I published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists this morning: "Why policymakers should beware claims of new 'arms races.'

Here is a key paragraph from the introduction:

... policy makers should examine new claims of a “race” in critical technologies dispassionately and rationally and beware of suboptimal arming in response to claims of adversary capabilities. (In the words of political scientist Charles L. Glaser, suboptimal arming occurs when “the state’s decision to launch a buildup is poorly matched to its security environment.”) History—especially the history of nuclear competition—shows that such fears can be overblown and costly, and policy makers would do well to remember the cognitive and cultural biases that make people see threats where there are none.

There is no paywall.

How this piece came to be

  1. Haydn wrote "Are you really in a race? The Cautionary Tales of Szilárd and Ellsberg" on the Forum;
  2. I commented on that post, with some criticism;
  3. We connected on the EA forum and decided to collaborate on a short op-ed;
  4. We co-wrote the piece, pitched it to an editor at the Bulletin, and they accepted with some minor edits.

This was a lot of fun, and we'd encourage others to consider turning interesting ideas into accessible articles for magazines, newspapers, etc., especially in light of recent posts on engaging more with established fields like nuclear security.

I'm happy to give advice on how to write and pitch these.




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Excellent work making the world a better place. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed your piece!

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