Thomas Schelling and the Nuclear Age
Strategy as Social Science
By Robert Ayson
Routledge – 2004 – 248 pages
Series: Strategy and History
An illuminating insight into the work of Thomas Schelling, one of the most influential strategic thinkers of the nuclear age.
By the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the United States' early forays into Vietnam, he had become one of the most distinctive voices in Western strategy. This book shows how Schelling's thinking is much more than a reaction to the tensions of the Cold War. In a demonstration that ideas can be just as significant as superpower politics, Robert Ayson traces the way this Harvard University professor built a unique intellectual framework using a mix of social-scientific reasoning, from economics to social theory and psychology. As such, this volume offers a rare glimpse into the intellectual history which underpins classical thinking on nuclear strategy and arms control - thinking which still has an enormous influence in the early twenty-first century.
1. From Economist to Strategist 2. Strategy in the Nuclear Age 3. Schelling's General Concept 4. Bargains and Games 5. Prisoner's Dilemmas 6. Strategy as Social Science
Robert Ayson is Professor and Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He was for many years the Director of Studies with the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. He has also taught at Massey University and Waikato University and worked as a New Zealand government official. This book is based on a doctoral dissertation he completed as a Commonwealth Scholar at King's College London. Also the author of a study of the thinking of Hedley Bull, a contemporary of Schelling's, his main research interests are strategic concepts, nuclear issues, Asia-Pacific regional security and Australasian defence policies.