A “Nuclear Umbrella” for Ukraine? Precedents and Possibilities for Postwar European Security

Matthew Evangelista, Cornell University

Whatever the outcome of the Russo-Ukrainian War, in its wake Ukraine will need to choose a security policy to defend its sovereignty from future threats. Its choice holds implications for broader European security. Some observers advocate Ukraine becoming a member in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), thereby gaining protection from the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.” Others doubt the effectiveness of “extended nuclear deterrence”—the threat of U.S. nuclear retaliation for attacks, including those carried out with conventional armed forces, on an ally's territory. But nuclear deterrence was never put to the test in Cold War Europe, and today extended nuclear deterrence is an unreliable and risky approach to Russian aggression. An examination of the role of nuclear deterrence during the 1961 Berlin Crisis demonstrates that Soviet military strategy against U.S. nuclear weapons posed the risk of escalation. In vulnerable NATO territories, such as the Estonian city of Narva, such a risk still exists. A Cold War–era alternative to nuclear deterrence offers the possibility of a non-nuclear defense for Ukraine. Proposals such as the “spider in the web” strategy draw on concepts of the security dilemma and non-offensive, confidence-building defense to provide for Ukrainian security in a Europe threatened by Russian expansion, without relying on the threat of nuclear war.


We All Fall Down: The Dismantling of the Warsaw Pact and the End of the Cold War in Eastern Europe

Simon Miles, Duke University

Using new evidence from Czech, German, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian archives, a reconstruction of Eastern European diplomacy at the end of the Cold War shows that it was not just the superpowers that shaped events during this pivotal period: the non-Soviet members of the Warsaw Pact also had agency. From 1989 to 1991, these states recognized that the world was changing and that their relationship with the Soviet Union, codified in the Warsaw Pact politico-military alliance, would impede their success in the post–Cold War world. Eastern European policymakers resolved to destroy the Warsaw Pact that bound them to the Soviet Union, and they decided to align with Western Europe. They also sought to exclude the Soviet Union from the European security architecture, including the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. They sought security and wanted to hedge against a hard-line takeover in the Soviet Union; but their primary aim was to reap the West's economic benefits.


Foreign Intervention and Internal Displacement: Urban Politics in Postwar Beirut

Amanda Rizkallah, Pepperdine University

Uneven democratization is a common yet poorly understood legacy of civil war. In the aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), wartime processes of displacement interacted with Syria's intervention to transform local postwar political orders. In Beirut's suburbs, the bonds built between armed actors and displaced populations created opportunities for displaced people to extract responsiveness from local institutions, despite their vulnerability. But the power of displaced populations in their host community hinges on the fate of the locally dominant armed actor. If the armed actor is an ally of the intervening power, it can maintain political control over its strongholds, marginalizing traditional local elites while empowering its core constituents, displaced people. By contrast, if an armed actor is repressed by the intervening power, the ensuing power vacuum creates an opportunity for pluralistic party politics to emerge. Traditional prewar elites reassert their role in local political life, empowering their core constituents, the prewar residents. Drawing on dozens of in-depth interviews with key informants in the suburbs of postwar Beirut, the findings show how displacement transformed localities in ways that transcend religious identity. Over 80,000 people have been displaced from southern Lebanon because of fighting since October 7, 2023. If Hezbollah provides services and security to these displaced persons, the current conflict will strengthen Hezbollah's grip on the south of Lebanon when the displaced populations return, or further consolidate its influence in those localities in south Lebanon where displaced populations settle.


Reining in Rebellion: The Decline of Political Violence in South America, 1830–1929

Raúl L. Madrid, University of Texas at Austin, and Luis L. Schenoni, University College London

During the nineteenth century, South America was plagued by internal rebellions that destabilized the region's economies and political systems. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, levels of political violence throughout the region declined dramatically. Existing scholarship has paid surprisingly little attention to this historic transformation, in part because comprehensive data on revolts have been lacking. Historical narratives and an analysis of a comprehensive new dataset on all revolts in South America from 1830 to 1929 show that the decline in revolts stemmed in large part from the expansion and professionalization of the region's militaries, which were driven by the export boom and the threat of interstate conflict. Nevertheless, not all types of rebellions declined precipitously during this period, as an original typology of revolts shows. Although the strengthening of the region's armed forces discouraged revolts by non-state actors, it did not significantly reduce rebellions from within the state apparatus, such as military coups.