128 Items

U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry (right) Ukraine Minister of Defense Valeriy Shmarov (center) and Russian Federation Minister of Defense General of the Army Pavel Grachev (left)

Public Domain/Petty Officer 1st Class Todd P. Cichonowicz, U.S. Navy

Paper - Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Hard Times for Arms Control: What Can Be Done?

| February 2022

The world has grown more dangerous but also less open to arms control measures that could limit some of the dangers. What can be done? Steven E. Miller offers a tour de force overview of both dismal and hopeful trends within arms control over the past decades, in this first paper of a new HCSS series on Arms Control.

President Joe Biden meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin

AP/Patrick Semansky

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Biden to Putin in Geneva: There's a New Sheriff in Town.

| June 17, 2021

No great breakthroughs or dramatic developments were expected at the Biden-Putin summit, and none was achieved. But the message was clear: There is a new sheriff in town. Putin noticed, describing Biden as very different from Trump—experienced, balanced, and professional.

Americans watch President Kennedy speak on television during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

James Vaughan/Flickr

Journal Article - Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament

Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications

| 2021

Soviet and American leaders learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 that inadequate communication raised perilous risks and dangers in the nuclear age. The US–Soviet Hotline was created soon thereafter, in 1963, and has operated continuously ever since. It was intended to provide a quick, reliable, confidential, ever-ready communications between heads of state in the event of crisis or war.  Hotlines remain a prudent, low-cost preparation that could prove essential in the event of a crisis that seems to be slipping out of control.

A missile on display during a military parade in Moscow's Red Square in 2016.

Wikimedia Commons

Report Chapter - American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Rise and Decline of Global Nuclear Order?

| April 2021

The first half century of the nuclear age witnessed the gradual construction of a global nuclear order designed to mitigate nuclear dangers, inhibit arms racing, and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. Spurred by the experiences, the dangers, the crises, the near misses, and the frightening risks on display in the early years of the Cold War, sustained efforts were made, in McGeorge Bundy’s vivid phrase, “to cap the volcano.” The time had arrived, Bundy wrote in 1969, for the two great nuclear superpowers “to limit their extravagant contest in strategic weapons,” a contest that had “led the two greatest powers of our generation into an arms race totally unprecedented in size and danger.” In the subsequent twenty-five years after Bundy’s appeal, an increasingly elaborate and institutionalized arms control process produced, with many ups and downs, a detailed web of constraints on the nuclear behavior of the superpowers. The articulated goal was to stabilize the superpower nuclear balance by reinforcing mutual deterrence. The vast nuclear arsenals of the superpowers, however, were not the only source of nuclear danger. In a world in which the number of states armed with nuclear weapons was slowly growing and many additional states had interest in acquiring such weapons or the technology to produce them, there was reason, as Albert Wohlstetter warned in 1961, to be “concerned with the enormous instabilities and dangers of a world with many nuclear powers.” Such a world—“life in a nuclear armed crowd”—Wohlstetter wrote in a later famous study, was widely believed to be “vastly more dangerous than today’s world.” The desire to prevent this unattractive world led to the negotiation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force in 1970, and to the subsequent development of an associated regime intended to create legal and technical barriers to the spread of nuclear weapons. Thus, in reaction to the major perceived dangers of the nuclear age, there emerged what Lawrence Freedman calls the “twin pillars” of the global nuclear order: mutual stability in the major nuclear rivalry and nonproliferation to inhibit or prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states.

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

Belfer Center’s International Security Journal Honored for Impact

| July 15, 2020

International Security, the quarterly journal edited at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and published by The MIT Press, received top rankings for impact in 2019 based on the high number of times the journal's articles were referenced in other publications.

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Postponement of the NPT Review Conference. Antagonisms, Conflicts and Nuclear Risks after the Pandemic

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has published a document from the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs concerning nuclear problems and tensions in the time of COVID-19. The document has been co-signed by a large number of Pugwash colleagues and personalities.

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

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

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a press conference with U.S. President Donald J. Trump during the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels

U.S. State Dept.

Analysis & Opinions - Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

Is Trump Right to Demand that NATO Partners Pay More?

| Sep. 09, 2018
Transatlantic relations have suffered since the advent of Donald Trump’s presidency. While collaboration and mutual understanding were taken for granted on a plethora of issues of joint interest during the administration of Barack Obama, Trump approaches Europe with undisguised skepticism.