This is a linkpost for

EDIT: The Japanese Emperor secretly decided to surrender prior to Nagasaki, but I'm not sure it's accurate to say he "tried to surrender."

I came out of podcast hiatus to have a conversation with Longview's nuclear security co-lead Carl Robichaud for The Most Interesting People I Know (found wherever you find podcasts).

Carl Robichaud is the first person I go to on the topic of nuclear weapons. He has been working as a grantmaker and analyst of nuclear weapons policy for close to two decades. He co-leads nuclear security grantmaking at Longview Philanthropy, where I used to work as a media consultant. Prior to Longview, Carl led nuclear grantmaking for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

We recently saw Oppenheimer together and decided to have a discussion about the film, the real history, and nuclear weapons more broadly. 

This episode was released on the 78th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, and today is the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, which happened after the Japanese emperor secretly tried to surrender. As we discuss, the fact that nuclear weapons have not been used in war in the nearly eight decades since should be seen as a remarkable achievement, or a sign of extreme luck. 

We have a spoiler-filled discussion of the new film Oppenheimer and the real history until 31:12, in case you’d like to skip ahead.

We discuss:

  • Alternatives to bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • The controversial development of the hydrogen bomb
  • Oppenheimer's retrospective feelings about the bomb
  • Health effects of nuclear tests
  • Why the world isn't totally full of nukes
  • Whether ICBMs can be justified while nuclear subs exist
  • Why the US won't commit to no first use
  • How arms control agreements help get out of traps
  • Ukraine and the possible breaking of the nuclear taboo
  • Would we all die
  • Near misses
  • Whether there's always a “guy in the chair”
  • What we should do
  • Aspiring for a world free of nuclear weapons
  • Calls to action 
  • The decline of activist and philanthropic interest in nuclear weapons






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