Chapter 1 outlines the book’s framework of analysis and commences by drawing key distinctions between the theories of realism and institutionalism. These theories provide the foundation for the two hypotheses to be tested in the book via empirical analysis of individual case studies filtered through six analytic frames, which capture the objectives of allies and the sources of influence between the US and its allies regarding nuclear weapons cooperation.
Using the US states with provisions for the recall as the main example, the chapter surveys the history and practice of the recall. It shows that the right to revoke elected politicians’ mandates can be an effective way of holding politicians to account. The right of recall does not lead to chaos but improves representative government.
The chapter surveys the regulation of referendums. It shows how countries have sought to limit campaign spending and have given subsidies to campaigns to ensure a level playing field. In a path-breaking session, the chapter shows how it is possible to limit and regulate the influence of targeted online abuse of the process of direct democracy.
Code of silence, political scandal and strategies of denial
With the GAL, Spanish authorities were deeply concerned by the possibility of being caught red-handed. The overall rule, therefore, was to operate under a strict policy of silence and official denial. Until the mid-1990s, GAL remained a mysterious organisation until it became the biggest political scandal of the post-transition years and by far the darkest page in the contemporary history of the Spanish Socialist Party. This led to the arrest and condemnation of no fewer than 14 high-ranking Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers and senior government officials, including the then Minister of the Interior. When denial was not possible any more, justifications took over. This chapter examines the strategies of duplicity, maximum plausible deniability and evasion of responsibility that were employed and mobilised. It reflects further on the controversial yet somehow successful efforts deployed by Spain up to and including the present day to gloss over and rewrite the brutal history of the GAL.
Successive Japanese governments since the 1950s have had to balance the country’s security alliance with the world’s most powerful nuclear weapons state with the deep-seated anti-nuclear sentiment in Japanese society. During the Cold War, US access to the Japanese islands was a key enabler of the US’s ability to conduct global nuclear operations. Tokyo’s agreement to the covert transit of US nuclear-armed platforms and its support for US intelligence facilities on Japanese territory was aimed at reinforcing extended nuclear deterrence in the security alliance. The nuclear umbrella remains a central thread of the alliance, and the more operationally focused bilateral dialogue on extended deterrence created in 2010 built on more than forty years of political and strategic cooperation between Washington and Tokyo.
Diplomatic embarrassment and European democratic identity
The scandal surrounding GAL exposed deep-rooted problems in Spain’s security and counter-terrorist structures, which were eagerly exploited by the opposition in Madrid and by Basque nationalist groups and parties. It became not only a political embarrassment for the Spanish socialist government but also a diplomatic issue with France. Spain has always been strongly determined to develop EU-wide procedures capable of proving effective in the ongoing struggle against ETA in particular and terrorism in general. What this chapter suggests is that, in choosing to go even further in its demands for stronger and swifter mechanisms of police and judicial co-operation among its European peers, Spain found itself a convenient veil behind which GAL’s operations could be hidden and their political and diplomatic consequences rewritten. In promoting greater pan-European co-operation in the fight against terrorism as a collective democratic expression, Spain succeeded in drastically reducing the potentially disastrous impact of the GAL affair as a source of embarrassment.
This chapter concludes that institutionalism provides insights that realism does not in explaining nuclear weapons cooperation between the US and its allies. The book’s analysis yields four key findings. The first is that the US has frequently and deliberately used cooperation on US nuclear weapons to shore up general confidence about its commitment to allies’ security. Second, the enhancement of institutional depth in nuclear weapons cooperation has promoted reassurance among America’s non-nuclear allies and enabled closer and political and operational integration in general. Third, all US allies examined in the book have at times reduced, and in some cases declined, material cooperation that would have visibly linked US nuclear weapons to their own security. The final conclusion is that, contrary to realist arguments, US allies can exercise a significant degree of influence in cooperation regarding US nuclear weapons.