1990 – Robert Jervis

The possibility of mutual destruction of the United States and the Soviet Union in nuclear war has changed the psychology of statesmanship.

That’s the concept expressed by Robert Jervis, a political science professor at Columbia University and winner of the 1990 award.

In his 1989 book, The Meaning of Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon, Jervis says that the modernizing of nuclear weapons by the superpowers has revolutionized military strategy and international relations.

Jervis argues that current U.S. counterforce strategy is illogical and dangerous because it undermines the psychological confidence of “not striking first” that is a major factor in deterrence.

Judges for the Grawemeyer Award said Jervis’s book, “offers a logical and realistic way to think in a post cold-war era … his closely nuanced depiction of the psychological reality of the arms race could do for arms control what Gorbachev has done with Glasnost and Perestroika.”