Jeffrey LewisWonk 2.0 & Paul Shambroom

Welcome to Arms Control version 2.0—upgraded and redesigned with help from my friend Greg over at hexive.

I am excited about a number of new features, including some that are still in the pipeline. If you subscribe to wonk via feed (live bookmark or desktop application) please take a few minutes and update our feed location. It should now be:

I am also greatful to Minneapolis artist Paul Shambroom, who granted permission to use his photograph, Untitled (Peacekeeper missile silo test launch preparation, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California).

I am a little embarrassed that we’ve squeezed the image into the banner as a decoration. The image is best viewed as the artist intended:

Shambroom’s images of nuclear weapons are available in his book Face to Face with the Bomb, as well as online.

His current project on Homeland Security examines issues of fear, safety and liberty in post-9/11 America.

Finding an image of a nuclear weapon for an arms control website is difficult; most images suggest a bomb fetish.

Paul Shambroom’s work is unique in this regard; his statement of intent perfectly expresses my aspirations for this blog:

Nuclear weapons are still one of the dominant issues of our time, despite the ending of the Cold War. As we assess the past and contemplate the future, we have very little concrete visual imagery of the huge nuclear arsenal that has so strongly influenced our lives. With unprecedented cooperation from U.S. military authorities, I have photographed warheads, submarines, bombers, missiles and associated facilities throughout the United States. Since 1992 I’ve made 35 visits to photograph more than two dozen weapons and command sites (plus hundreds of individual ICBM silos) in 16 states.

My goal is neither to directly criticize nor glorify. My objective is to reveal the tangible reality of the huge nuclear arsenal, something that exists for most of us only as a powerful concept in our collective consciousness. Psychiatrist Robert J. Lifton writes in his 1986 essay “Examining the Real: Beyond the Nuclear ‘End’”:

“Given the temptation of despair, our need can be simply stated: We must confront the image that haunts us, making use of whatever models we can locate. Only then can we achieve those changes in consciousness that must accompany (if not precede) changes in public policy on behalf of a human future. We must look into the abyss in order to be able to see beyond it [emphasis mine].”

1995 marked the 50 year anniversary of the first atomic explosion (“Trinity”), and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. The ending of the Cold War raised great hopes that justification for nuclear weapons would tumble along with the Berlin Wall. To date, such hopes have been unfounded. The US and Russia are developing new weapons and plan to deploy thousands of warheads well into the next century. The burgeoning arms races among hostile nationalistic regimes compound the nuclear threat at the very moment when mankind could have been preparing to welcome a nuclear-free new millennium. I hope my photographs will connect viewers to the continuing legacy of these events, and help them to confront and define their own attitudes about the nuclear present and future.

I hope you enjoy the new site!


  1. mark gubrud (History)

    “My goal is neither to directly criticize nor glorify.”

    Heil MX, Keeper of the Peace.

  2. Bill Ricker (History)

    Congratulations, Nice makeover. The Gray is easier on the eyes than the yellow was. The quote boxes are even more elegant than before.

    Sorry to hear about your car.

  3. Theresa Hitchens (History)

    Wow. Way too swanky for us wonks!

  4. Jamie Morin

    A most impressive re-design. But it’s dwarfed by the quality of the content lately.

  5. AHM (History)

    Only one complaint: this message box is a little small for comments. Hey, do you have polling capabilities with the new 2.0? I’m sure the opinions of the armscontrolwonk readers would lead to some interesting results.