473 Items

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan shake hands after signing the INF treaty

AP Photo/Bob Daugherty

Policy Brief - Russia Matters

The INF Quandary: Preventing a Nuclear Arms Race in Europe. Perspectives from the US, Russia and Germany

| Jan. 24, 2019

Thus, the fate of the INF Treaty is of surpassing importance in Europe, Russia and the United States. The stakes for the parties to the treaty are obvious. Europe too would be affected as dissolution of the treaty could lead to a new arms race with intermediate-range missiles targeting the entire continent. Below, three authors representing each of these perspectives consider the likely future of the treaty, how it might be saved and what its demise might mean. 

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

Keeping Communications Open Despite U.S.-Russia Friction

| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

For the past eight years, a group of high-level American and Russian retired military and intelligence officials has met annually to discuss sensitive issues of U.S. - Russian relations. The purpose of the Elbe Group, launched by the Belfer Center in 2008, is to keep open an important channel of communications between the two countries that have the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. in the world. 

A Tajik conscript looks out over remote stretches of northern Afghanistan from a border outpost near Khorog, Tajikistan.

Photo by David Trilling (c)

Report - Russia Matters

Jihadists from Ex-Soviet Central Asia: Where Are They? Why Did They Radicalize? What Next?

| Fall 2018

Thousands of radicals from formerly Soviet Central Asia have traveled to fight alongside IS in Syria and Iraq; hundreds more are in Afghanistan. Not counting the fighting in those three war-torn countries, nationals of Central Asia have been responsible for nearly 100 deaths in terrorist attacks outside their home region in the past five years. But many important aspects of the phenomenon need more in-depth study.

This research paper attempts to answer four basic sets of questions: (1) Is Central Asia becoming a new source of violent extremism that transcends borders, and possibly continents? (2) If so, why? What causes nationals of Central Asia to take up arms and participate in political violence? (3) As IS has been all but defeated in Iraq and Syria, what will Central Asian extremists who have thrown in their lot with the terrorist group do next? And (4) do jihadists from Central Asia aspire to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction? If so, how significant a threat do they pose and who would be its likeliest targets?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 1, 2018.

    Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

    Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

    Putin’s Remarks on Use of Nuclear Weapons Are Confusing, But Unlikely to Constitute a Shift in Nuclear Posture

    | Nov. 28, 2018

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s eschatological talk of nuclear Armageddon at this year’s Valdai forum has stirred up heated debates on how well his description of Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons matches the country’s official military doctrine. However, a close look at Putin’s Oct. 18 remarks and Russia’s 2014 military doctrine reveals that, while Putin deviated from the language in the doctrine, he did not lie on the first use issue. Nor did he seem to be hinting at a shift in Russia’s nuclear posture. More likely, he was signaling to Washington that the existing nuclear arms control treaties need to remain in place for the sake of ensuring strategic stability in the U.S.-Russian nuclear dyad and avoiding an accidental war between the two countries.

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    - US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

    The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: June - November 2018

    | Nov. 21, 2018
    • Graham Allison on likelihood of another 9/11 and need to deny terrorists nuclear weapons.
    • Bunn and Roth on regaining nuclear security momentum.
    • New books on lessons of U.S.-Russian non-proliferation cooperation and on preventing illicit nuclear trade.
    • Study: Congress needs to play a more active role in nuclear security.

    Reagan and Gorbachev signing INF Treaty in 1987

    (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty)

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

    Center Experts Comment on Significance of Withdrawing from INF Treaty

    Following the news that the Trump administration plans to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, ten Belfer Center nuclear and U.S.-Russia relations experts offered their thoughts on the significance and consequences of this action.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following a summit on Syria, in Istanbul on October 27, 2018.

    AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

    Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

    When Does Vladimir Putin’s Russia Send In Troops?

    | Aug. 07, 2018

    This month marks the tenth anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s first military intervention abroad, in Georgia. Since then there have been two more, continuing to this day, in Ukraine and Syria in 2014 and 2015, respectively. And still it’s worth asking: When does Putin authorize the use of military force, overtly or covertly, against other countries and why?

    Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during his news conference after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province,  June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

    Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

    Is Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Decline? We Figured Out How to Measure ‘National Power.’

    | June 20, 2018

    Where does Russia stand as Vladimir Putin embarks on another six-year term as president? Analysts have been trying to figure out whether Russia has been rising, declining or stagnating since Putin ascended to power in 1999.

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    - US-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

    The U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism Newsletter: March - May 2018

    • U.S. and Russian experts ponder denuclearization of Korean Peninsula.
    • Graham Allison on changing the odds of nuclear terrorism.
    • William Tobey on insights on UNSCR 1540.
    • Siegfried Hecker calls for revival of U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation.

    President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    AP Photo/Evan Vucci

    Analysis & Opinions - Fox News

    Trump's Iran Deal Move Splits America From its European Allies - That's a Problem

    | May 09, 2018

    President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal has driven yet another wedge between Washington and its closest European allies – a longstanding goal of Iranian policy and a major gift to Russia.