ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Itty Abraham

'Who's Next?' Nuclear Ambivalence and the Contradictions of Non-Proliferation Policy

This paper argues that the limit of conventional non-proliferation policy analysis is marked by the inability to come to terms with the ambivalence of nuclear power. Ambivalence is often glossed over in the literature as "dual use" technology; the "dual use" formulation misleadingly transfers attention to the operator or manager of technology rather than see it as a structural feature of the technology itself. By contrast, this paper argues that ambivalence is not a choice under the control of good or bad leaders. Regardless of "good" or "bad" technological choices made at different points of time, the ambivalence of nuclear technology does not go away. Two cases are explored to assess the impact of nuclear ambivalence on non-proliferation policy: the declarations by North Korea and India that they are nuclear weapons states. In both cases, this paper shows, international policymakers assumed long before the actual decisions were taken that these countries intended to build nuclear arsenals. The international community took "appropriate" action, namely, a coordinated policy of sanctions and technology denial, based on this unverifiable conclusion. This approach had the unintended consequence of reducing the costs of each country's eventual decision to "go" nuclear.

The Future of Indian Foreign Policy

India has failed in its endeavours to gain global influence by mimicking the "Great Powers" and trying to develop its hard power capacities. The declining status of India as a country that once offered a unique and ethically informed view of the world has been partly mitigated by the activities of some sectors of Indian civil society. This offers India a chance to create a forward-looking foreign policy that better reflects its own origins and cultural ethos.

Uncertainty, Knowledge, and Violence in Southern Thailand

This article compares competing analytic narratives that seek to account for the ongoing violence in southern Thailand through a focus on their spatial and temporal variations (when did the conflict begin, where is the conflict located, what are its boundaries) in order to draw out their tacit assumptions and implications. This discussion is followed by an examination of local accounts of the nature and causes of violence, accounts which stand at some remove from scholarly analyses, and which offer a very different picture of the state of affairs in this region. The final section returns to the issue of analytic uncertainty to propose that uncertainty and ambiguity are positive features of the political condition of southern Thailand, and to argue that a decline of uncertainty would be a sign of things getting worse.

Filipinos in the US

The occasion to mark the 100th anniversary of Filipino arrival in the US also offers an opportunity to re-examine imperialism as defined in the American context. The US' aggressive colonisation of former Spanish territories would play a defining role in later foreign policy strategy; colonised populations, for their part, would find themselves deprived for many decades, of several legitimate citizenship rights.

The Contradictory Spaces of Postcolonial Techno-Science

Postcolonial techno-science as a field of enquiry that crosses geopolitical boundaries as it tracks flows, circuits of scientists, knowledges, machines, and techniques is a critical way of thinking about science and technology and their study that we can endorse with much enthusiasm. But when the postcolonial as a mode of analysis is linked to a fixed site of irreducible knowledge claims, it articulates an ontology that ties knowledge to location as a singular and essential quality of place. Location matters: by refusing to isolate the South from the West in the study of science, one leaves open the possibility of seeing multi-directional influences and channels simultaneously. Postcolonial science studies need a proliferation of historical and sociological accounts of science as practice in order to set a standard against which we can more easily identify "Indian Science" as a discourse that shapes a political struggle that has little to do with science studies, even if it has much to do with India.