Although the nuclear taboo is widespread today, it is probably not universal. A critical question is whether it holds for new nuclear states and for nondemocratic states that are not accountable to public opinion.
Tannenwald, p. 34
Um, okay. All states depend upon – are accountable to – their public. Governance depends upon the acquiescence of the governed. In the specific context, starting a destructive and wasteful war – i.e., dropping the bomb – can generate substantial resistance, even to the harshest dictators: ask Mussolini or Robespierre.
Al-Qaida may wish to topple the House of Saud, but if a majority of citizens do not support this goal, al-Qaida is unlikely to achieve it.
Kydd and Walter, p. 54
The House of Saud won’t fall until a majority of citizens don’t support it. Really? Even in a democracy, it takes a lot less than a majority of the population to change the leadership – it can be done with a plurality of those who vote. Bush, in 2000, was elected by about 50 million (or, if you’re really cynical, five) in a nation of more than 280 million.
But we’re not talking about an election here. We’re talking about a revolution or a coup, which is done by a few highly committed people.
I'm a big fan of democracy and all, but these two writers seem to deploy grade-school understandings of majority rule.
Yes, I know that I'm nitpicking.