Watch Now: Why the atomic bombing of Hiroshima would be illegal today Global Webinar

By Halley Posner | August 5, 2020

Just days before the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Bulletin hosted a global webinar featuring Scott Sagan, Bulletin SASB member and Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University; Allen Weiner, director of the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law; led by Sara Kutchesfahani, director of N Square DC Hub.

As Sagan and Weiner note in their recent article published in the Bulletin “The history of the decision to drop the bomb has been told many times. But what has been underplayed is how concerns about ethics and law were invoked, but in a muted and often rationalizing manner that had little impact on the targeting of Hiroshima.”

Read more Bulletin coverage of nuclear risk and listen to all of our webinars.

Scott Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. He also serves as Chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Committee on International Security Studies. Before joining the Stanford faculty, Sagan was a lecturer in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as special assistant to the director of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. Sagan has also served as a consultant to the office of the Secretary of Defense and at the Sandia National Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is a member of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.

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Allen Weiner is an international legal scholar with expertise in such wide-ranging fields as international and national security law, the law of war, international conflict resolution, and international criminal law (including transitional justice). He is a senior lecturer at Stanford University’s Law School; director of the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law; director of the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2003, Weiner served as legal counselor to the U.S. Embassy in The Hague and attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State. Weiner received his BA from Harvard University and JD from Stanford Law School.

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Sara Kutchesfahani is the Director of the N Square DC Hub. N Square is a funders collaborative created in 2014 to introduce innovation and creative thinking into the nuclear risk reduction space. She is also a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Kutchesfahani has 16+ years of professional and academic experience in the fields of nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security, holding research, analysis, teaching, and managerial positions at a national nuclear weapons laboratory, an NGO, a university, and at various think tanks around the world. This diverse background is a clear indication of her openness to learning new processes and approaches. She has a PhD in Political Science from University College London and is the author of Global Nuclear Order (Routledge: 2019) and Politics and the Bomb: The Role of Experts in the Creation of Cooperative Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreements (Routledge: 2014), as well as numerous scholarly and policy articles.


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This project is part of a collaboration between the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Stanley Foundation.

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