Bear with me, because this post has a long backstory.

As many of you know, I’m a former policy debater. Indeed, so are a number of guest and permanent bloggers at the Duck of Minerva. And not a few other international-relations scholars. Well, this weekend is the National Debate Tournament (NDT), which is like the NCAA basketball tournament for fast-talking nerds, misfits, and future legal power players. In fact, the two aforelinked Ducks are former NDT champions.

Last year something odd happened. I was at a GDS debate reunion talking to some current college debaters. One of them stopped and said, more or less, “wait, are you Nexon of ‘Cooley and Nexon?'” As it turned out, a Foreign Affairs online article that Alex Cooley and I co-wrote provided key evidence for an affirmative case dealing with the US base in Bahrain. Interesting.

Now it turns out that a popular case this year is to deploy small nuclear reactors at US military installations (PDF). I’ve received emails asking about the merits of the case. I immediately roped in Alex Cooley — who is, after all, much more of a basing expert than I am — and talked to some scholars and practitioners I know associated with the nuclear-security community. The topic seemed compelling enough for a blog post.

In essence, this strikes me as a problematic proposal.

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