In “Beyond Emboldenment,” Mark Bell develops a typology of six foreign policies—aggression, expansion, independence, bolstering, steadfastness, and compromise—that nuclear weapons might induce and specifies observable implications for each.1 Bell's article is an important contribution but suffers from two problems. First, these policies are not conceptually distinct and are very hard to empirically disentangle from aggression, the traditional focus of the nuclear emboldenment debate. Second, while the documentation of British bolstering is important, the evidence Bell presents in his case study suggests that aggression—at least of limited aims and over the short term—is precisely what nuclear weapons caused Britain to authorize. Bell's theory and evidence make a weak case for looking beyond emboldenment defined as aggression in assessing the effects of nuclear weapons on foreign policy.

In his theory section, Bell differentiates expansion—defined as the development of new declared interests, alliances with states or nonstate groups, power projection capabilities, and...

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