Nuclear brinksmanship: What we learned from Nixon

Leonid Brezhnev, Richard Nixon, and translator Viktor Sukhodrev on June 19, 1973.

Leonid Brezhnev, Richard Nixon, and translator Viktor Sukhodrev on June 19, 1973

Nuclear brinksmanship: What we learned from Nixon

Ken Hughes, Erin Mahan, Todd Sechser, Marc Selverstone

Friday, October 07, 2022
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
Event Details

Experts on the presidency and nuclear security discuss Richard Nixon’s overlooked efforts to curb the spread of the world’s weapons of mass destruction. Averting Doomsday: Arms Control During the Nixon Presidency, the new book by the late Patrick Garrity and Erin Mahan, sheds new light on policies that persist to this day and addresses milestones such as the first SALT agreement on strategic nuclear weapons, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the renunciation of US offensive biological weapons, and a Seabed treaty.


Friday, October 07, 2022
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA
Ken Hughes headshot

Ken Hughes

Bob Woodward has called Ken Hughes “one of America's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings, especially those of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.” Hughes, the Miller Center's research specialist, has spent two decades mining the Secret White House Tapes and unearthing their secrets. As a journalist writing in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, and Boston Globe Magazine, and, since 2000, as a researcher with the Miller Center, Hughes’ work has illuminated the uses and abuses of presidential power involved in (among other things) the origins of Watergate, Jimmy Hoffa’s release from federal prison, and the politics of the Vietnam War.

Erin Mahon headshot

Erin Mahan

Erin Mahan is chief historian of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and director of the Pentagon Library. She previously served as associate research fellow at Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. She is also the author of Kennedy, De Gaulle and Western Europe (Palgrave, 2002), co-author of The Great War: A World War I Collector’s Vault (2013), general editor of the Secretaries of Defense Historical Series and has published several chapters and articles on biological and chemical weapons, NATO, and civil-military relations. In 2015, she was appointed to the Historical Advisory Board of the World War I Centennial Commission. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Todd Sechser headshot

Todd Sechser

Todd S. Sechser, a Miller Center faculty senior fellow, is the Pamela Feinour Edmonds and Franklin S. Edmonds, Jr. Discovery Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and professor of public policy at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Sechser's research focuses on deterrence, coercive diplomacy, military technology, and nuclear security. He is the director of the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation, a multi-university working group studying the effects of new technologies on international security. His writing on policy issues has been published in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and the Christian Science Monitor, and he regularly consults for government and military agencies.

Marc Selverstone headshot

Marc Selverstone

Marc Selverstone is an associate professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center and chair of the Center’s Presidential Recordings Program. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Trinity College (CT), a Master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in history from Ohio University. A historian of the Cold War, he is the author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950 (Harvard), which won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. As chair of the Recordings Program, Selverstone edits the Secret White House Tapes of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. He is the general editor of The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition, the primary online portal for transcripts of the tapes, published by the University of Virginia Press.

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