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Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Expert Survey: Is Nuclear Arms Control Dead or Can New Principles Guide It?

| July 30, 2019

With the historic INF Treaty more than likely to terminate, and the future of New START in doubt, what guiding principles for interstate nuclear arms control can we hope for? Of eight U.S., Russian, European and Chinese experts surveyed by Russia Matters, most agree that bilateral agreements between the world’s two nuclear superpowers still have a role to play in any new arms control regime, but they differed considerably on the nature of that role.

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.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, attend a meeting while visiting the Military Academy of Strategic Rocket Troops of the Peter the Great in Balashikha, outside Moscow on December 22, 2017.

Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Moscow Times

Putin’s Missile Envy Doesn’t Bode Well for International Stability

| Mar. 02, 2018

Of all the annual addresses Vladimir Putin has delivered to Russia’s Federal Assembly since becoming president in 1999, Thursday’s speech was the most militarized. Although Putin began by talking about modernizing the Russian economy and reducing poverty, most of the speech — and accompanying videos — were devoted to guns rather than butter. While the parliamentarians clearly welcomed Putin’s military showcasing by offering frequent applause, the rest of the world felt a distinct Cold War chill.

The head of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks in a conference called "A World Without Terror," in Tehran, Iran on Oct. 31, 2017. Jafari said that the country's supreme leader has limited the range of ballistic missiles it makes (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Stop Iran's Missile Program

| Dec. 10, 2017

Just four weeks ago, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, told the Associated Press that Tehran was imposing a 1,242-mile range limit on its surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. Although lax (all of Israel’s bases, and most of America’s in the Gulf and Middle East, fall within this range), this limit should be seen as a start. The question now is how much further might the United States and other like-minded countries be able to push Iran to impose tighter controls.

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

25 Years of Nuclear Security Cooperation by the US, Russia and Other Newly Independent States: A Timeline

The timeline below was compiled by Simon Saradzhyan and Mariana Budjeryn and the foreword was written by William Tobey (author bios below). As an accompaniment, Ms. Budjeryn has also interviewed Sam Nunn, the former senator whose efforts were key to securing U.S. funding to help a disintegrating Soviet Union dismantle and safeguard its nuclear weapons. The timeline authors would like to thank former RM student associate Andre Gellerman for his research support and Susan Koch for her insightful comments. This is an evolving draft, produced in cooperation with the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and with support from the center's Managing the Atom Project. A bibliography can be found at the bottom of the page.

Wearing traditional Kazakh costumes on the shoulders, from left, U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins and Russia's cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky attend a press conference in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, shortly after their landing aboard Soyuz TMA-10M capsule. Hopkins together with the two Russia's cosmonauts landed safely in the Kazakh steppe aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Vasily Maximov, pool)

AP Photo/Vasily Maximov, pool

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

US-Russian space cooperation: a model for nuclear security

| Mar. 07, 2017

This interdependence between the US and Russian space programs persists even though the two countries are now living through what some pundits describe as a new Cold War. There was a time not so long ago, however, when the two nations viewed space solely as an area of strategic competition. The steps that Washington and Moscow took to transform their space rivalry into cooperation can serve today as a model for working together to help prevent nuclear terrorism, no matter how strained relations may seem.

A model of the Capitol Building is displayed on a giant planning map during a media tour highlighting inaugural preparations Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, at the DC Armory in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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

A Conservative’s Prescriptive Policy Checklist: U.S. Foreign Policies in the Next Four Years to Shape a New World Order

| Jan. 09, 2017

Based on the rigorous definition of vital U.S. national interests, this essay proposes a prescriptive checklist of U.S. policy steps that would strengthen the domestic base of American external actions; reinforce the U.S. alliance systems in Asia and Europe; meet the Chinese and Russian challenges, while improving the quality of diplomatic exchanges with Beijing and Moscow; reshape U.S. trade policy; gradually pivot from the Middle East to Asia (but not from Europe); maintain the nuclear agreement with Iran; and confront international terrorism more aggressively, but with minimal U.S. boots on the ground in ungoverned areas and without nation building.