Nuclear Weapons and the Other in the Western Imagination

Essay Excerpt

There is a common perception in the West that nuclear weapons are most dan- gerous when they are in the hands of Third World leaders. I first became inter- ested in this perception while interviewing nuclear weapons designers for an ethnographic study of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)— one of three laboratories where U.S. nuclear weapons are designed (Gusterson 1996). I made a point of asking each scientist if he or she thought nuclear weap- ons would be used in my lifetime. Almost all said that they thought it unlikely that the United States or the Russians would initiate the use of nuclear weapons, but most thought that nuclear weapons would probably be used—by a Third World country. (111)

Gusterson, Hugh. "Nuclear Weapons and the Other in the Western Imagination." Cultural Anthropology 14, no. 1 (1999): 111-143

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