John MuellerJohn Mueller is Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University. His interests include international politics, foreign policy, defense policy, public opinion, democratization, economic history, post-Communism, and terrorism.
Mueller is author or editor of 19 books, including:
- Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them (Free Press, 2006)
- The Remnants of War (Cornell, 2004), winner of the Joseph P. Lepgold Prize for Best Book on International Relations from Georgetown University
- War, Presidents and Public Opinion (Wiley, 1973), recipient of the first Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
This year, Mueller has three books published or forthcoming. First, Atomic Obsession: Reactions and Overreactions to Terrorism (Oxford University Press, 2009) examines the influence of nuclear weapons on history, assesses their spread, and evaluates the possibility that nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of terrorists.
Mueller argues that while the actual impact of nuclear weapons has been modest, they have had a massive influence on rhetoric, theorizing, and defense expenditures. The United States has spent up to $10 trillion on nuclear weapons to combat a threat of military aggression that didn’t exist.
Remarkably few countries have tried to develop nuclear weapons, Mueller says, and those that have did not find them to be much of an advantage. For these reasons, nuclear proliferation is not a major threat. Nor are terrorists likely to surmount the practical difficulties involved in developing, delivering, and detonating an atomic device.
Second, Mueller is working with Mark Stewart of University of Newcastle in Australia on Terrorism, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security.
In this book, Mueller and Stewart apply standard risk and cost-benefit evaluation techniques to examine the cost-effectiveness of the enhanced expenditures on homeland security measures since 9/11. They also explore the evaluation of policing and intelligence matters, and comment on mitigation, resilience, and overreaction. Their key conclusion is that given the very limited risk of terrorism, enhanced expenditures designed to lower that risk have not been worth it.
Finally, a set of Mueller’s essays on war and the role of ideas and opinion will be published as War and Ideas (Routledge, forthcoming).
Besides these books, Mueller has published 26 articles, essays and book chapters this year in outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Nation. He was also interviewed or quoted in the media, including online blogs, more than 110 times. Outlets included CNN, Fox, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USAToday, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, Time, The Atlantic, Science, Schneier on Security, Bloggingheads, and more.
Finally, Mueller received the Distinguished Scholar Award from The Ohio State University, recognizing exceptional scholarly accomplishments by a senior professor who has compiled a substantial body of research.
Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies and Professor of Political Science
The Ohio State University