International Security & Defense

1005 Items

The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence

AP/Wong Maye-E

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence

    Authors:
  • Keir A. Lieber
  • Daryl Press
| Spring 2017

For decades, nuclear deterrence has depended on the impossibility of a first strike destroying a country’s nuclear arsenal. Technological advances, however, are undermining states’ abilities to hide and protect their nuclear arsenals. These developments help explain why nuclear-armed states have continued to engage in security competition: nuclear deterrence is neither automatic nor permanent. Thus, the United States should enhance its counterforce capabilities and avoid reducing its nuclear arsenal.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with the U.S. Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency Ambassador Laura Holgate on July 22, 2016, after arriving at Vienna International Airport in Vienna, Austria, to attend a meeting aimed at amending the Montreal Protocol climate change agreement. (Dept. of State)

Department of State

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

Spotlight: Laura Holgate

| Spring 2017

Laura Holgate has played a major role in implementing global nuclear security measures. A Belfer Center alumna, she has just returned to the Belfer Center as a senior fellow following a number of years in the highest levels of government service.

Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States

AP/Andy Wong

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States

    Author:
  • Caitlin Talmadge
| Spring 2017

Would China escalate to nuclear use in a conventional war with the United States? If China believed that U.S. conventional attacks on missiles, submarines, air defenses, and command and control systems threatened the survivability of its nuclear forces or that the United States was preparing a counterforce attack, it might engage in limited nuclear escalation to gain military advantage or coerce the United States. The United States will face difficult trade-offs in deciding how best to manage the risk of nuclear escalation.

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Would South Korea Really Go Nuclear?

| December 30, 2016

"Until recently, calls for nuclear armament were considered extremist in South Korean political discourse. However, public support for nuclear armament is growing in South Korea due to North Korea’s nuclear provocations. In a recent Gallup Korea poll, 58 percent supported nuclear armament. If the U.S. security guarantee is not credible in the minds of South Koreans, and nuclear armament is the only way to defend South Korea’s security from North Korea, a nuclear option will seem even more appealing to the public."

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Russian businessmen in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

(AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

A Blueprint for Donald Trump to Fix Relations with Russia

| December 18, 2016

In a "policy memo" to President-elect Donald Trump, Graham Allison and Dimitri K. Simes write: "The two Chinese characters that make up the word “crisis” can be interpreted as meaning both “danger” and “opportunity.” Russia today offers your administration not only a serious challenge but a significant opportunity.

Russia is no longer the Evil Empire the United States confronted over decades of Cold War. Nonetheless, Russia remains a player whose choices affect vital U.S. interests profoundly across the agenda of global issues. First and foremost, Russia remains the only nation that can erase the United States from the map in thirty minutes.

Civilians leave their houses, as Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces fight against Islamic State militants, in the village of Tob Zawa, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016.

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Recommendations to the New President on Countering WMD and Terrorism

| November 17, 2016

After the U.S. Presidential election, we are entering a particularly vulnerable period as militant Islamists seek to test the new American president just as al-Qaeda (AQ) tested President George W. Bush shortly after the 2000 election.

We are now 15 years into the fight against Islamic-inspired terrorism. The day after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US and its allies launched a global anti-terrorism coalition to crush AQ and its allies; a fight that many expected to last a generation. The timing was not wrong, but the nature of the threat itself was both misunderstood and underestimated.