UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The nuclear terrorism disconnect : electoral incentives and U.S. policy responses Reed, Samuel Thomas


This thesis investigates the range of U.S. threat assessments of—and policy responses to—nuclear terrorism in the United States. It finds that a series of disconnects characterizes political elites’ and the American public’s views and relationships to the politics of nuclear terror. The salience of issues related to nuclear terrorism is not closely linked to the severity of the threat. In turn, the perceived severity of the threat is not strongly correlated with the counter nuclear terror policy response. This thesis assesses the degree of citizen competence in nuclear politics and the degree of elite responsiveness to mass opinion. It also evaluates the full range of elite threat assessments and identifies a number of contemporary trends in public opinion on nuclear terrorism. The thesis advances both domestic and international case studies of American policy responses to the threat of nuclear terrorism.

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