‘Every Me and Every You’ National Identities, Security Perceptions, and Nuclear Policy
Dr. Zoë I. Levornik, School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel
This article examines the effect of national identity on states’ security perceptions and policies. National identity effects security perceptions and policies in two ways. First, it has a constructive effect, meaning it shapes the security perception. In other words, who we are (as individuals or as a society) determines what we perceive as a threat. Second, national identity is also used as a driver to gain legitimacy and support for certain policies. That is, decision makers frame certain issues as a matter of national identity because they recognize that national identity is an emotional trigger for societies and therefore it is effective in gaining public support. While some studies examine the constructive effect of national identity, few studies focus on the use of national identity as a drive, which is the aim of this article. This article examines two cases, Israel and Iran, in order to demonstrate how national identity is used in political discourse in order to gain legitimacy and support for their nuclear policies. Understanding how nuclear policies are framed in the political discourse of different states can help established more effective nonproliferation policies and initiative.
Key words: National identity, nuclear weapons, nuclear policy, Israel, Iran.