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In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, a man in Seoul, South Korea watches a TV news program showing an image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Dec. 28, 2017

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un trading threats with words like “fire and fury”; Pakistan deploying tactical nuclear weapons to counter Indian conventional threats; Russia enunciating an Orwellian doctrine of “escalate-to-de-escalate” that calls for early use of battlefield nuclear weapons; and major nuclear-weapons states modernizing their arsenals — nukes are back. The cruel irony: This is happening after eight years of a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Blog Post - Nuclear Security Matters

Lessons from The Hague Peace Palace for the Nuclear Security Summit

| Mar. 24, 2014

Presidents Obama, Xi, Chancellor Merkel and 40 other heads of state assemble in the Netherlands early this week for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.  The meeting is in The Hague, home of the iconic Peace Palace.  We can hope that the briefing books for those attending the summit include a photo of the Palace and enough about its history for them to recognize not only the irony but also lessons from its story for the work they are undertaking.

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Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

What Happened to the Soviet Superpower’s Nuclear Arsenal? Clues for the Nuclear Security Summit

| March 2012

Twenty years ago Russia and fourteen other newly-independent states emerged from the ruins of the Soviet empire, many as nations for the first time in history. As is typical in the aftermath of the collapse of an empire, this was followed by a period of chaos, confusion, and corruption. As the saying went at the time, “everything is for sale.” At that same moment, as the Soviet state imploded, 35,000 nuclear weapons remained at thousands of sites across a vast Eurasian landmass that stretched across eleven time zones. 

Today, fourteen of the fifteen successor states to the Soviet Union are nuclear weapons-free. This paper will address the question: how did this happen? Looking ahead, it will consider what clues we can extract from the success in denuclearizing fourteen post-Soviet states that can inform our non-proliferation and nuclear security efforts in the future. These clues may inform leaders of the U.S., Russia, and other responsible nations attending the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 26-27, 2012. The paper will conclude with specific recommendations, some exceedingly ambitious that world leaders could follow to build on the Seoul summit’s achievements against nuclear terrorism in the period before the next summit in 2014. One of these would be to establish a Global Alliance Against Nuclear Terrorism.

U.S. President Barack Obama chairs a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Sept. 24, 2009. The council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution seeking to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear disarmament.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

Nuclear Disorder: Surveying Atomic Threats

| January/February 2010

The current global nuclear order is extremely fragile, and the three most urgent challenges to it are North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. If North Korea and Iran become established nuclear weapons states over the next several years, the nonproliferation regime will have been hollowed out. If Pakistan were to lose control of even one nuclear weapon that was ultimately used by terrorists, that would change the world. It would transform life in cities, shrink what are now regarded as essential civil liberties, and alter conceptions of a viable nuclear order.

Book - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Cooperative Denuclearization: From Pledges to Deeds

"CSIA's research on cooperative denuclearization began during the August 1991 putsch against Mikhail Gorbachev. To those of us familiar with nuclear weapons, their construction, and command and control, and with the looming revolution about to sweep the then–Soviet Union, it was plain that a new and unprecedented danger to international security was emerging. An appropriate policy response to this new form of nuclear threat could not be fashioned from traditional Cold War tools of deterrence, arms control, and military preparedness alone. Safety could only be sought through new policies emphasizing cooperative engagement with the new states, new leaders, and military and industrial heirs of the former Soviet Union...."