Nuclear Issues

1341 Items

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.

Hassan Rouhani

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy in Focus

Return to the Iran Nuclear Deal Before Talks on Other Issues

    Author:
  • Manon Dark
| Mar. 24, 2021

Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow Abolghasem Bayyenat addresses the following questions in a Foreign Policy in Focus interview: How Iran and the United States should go about reviving the nuclear agreement and what realistic strategy the Biden administration should adopt toward nuclear talks with Iran.

Missile Launch

Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP, File

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

How to Make the Iranian Nuclear Deal Durable

| Feb. 28, 2021

Abolghasem Bayyenat and Sayed Hossein Mousavian advise the United States and Iran to aim for reaching a modus vivendi that keeps their political conflict within manageable limits. Otherwise, another round of dangerous mutual escalation in the illusory hope of building leverage and extracting more concessions from each other is inevitable.     

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. delivers remarks at the State Department

State Department Photo by Freddie Everett

Analysis & Opinions - PRI's The World

Biden's reentry on the foreign policy stage

| Feb. 25, 2021

The first 100 days are key to understanding where any presidency is going. Now more than a third of the way into that timeframe, how is President Joe Biden doing in the international policy arena? The World’s host Marco Werman speaks with Nicholas Burns, a former US under secretary of state for political affairs and a former ambassador to NATO.

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

Iran Experts on Restoring Iran Nuclear Agreement

Following the recent Biden administration announcement that the U.S. would join European nations in seeking to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, we asked several of our Iran experts for their thoughts on the next steps: What should the U.S. goal be for a renewed Iran deal and what suggestions do you have for getting there? Matthew Bunn, Mahsa Rouhi, Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, and William Tobey shared their thoughts.

Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes join Andrea Mitchell to talk about Biden's next steps on Iran and Russia.

MSNBC

Analysis & Opinions - MSNBC

'Back on center stage globally': Fmr. foreign policy officials on Biden's agenda

| Feb. 19, 2021

Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes join Andrea Mitchell to talk about Biden's next steps on Iran and Russia. Burns says that Biden's "speech today at the Munich Security Conference has put the United States squarely back on center stage globally."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran on Feb. 10, 2021 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

Iranian Presidency Office via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Reviving the Nuclear Deal Gives the U.S. More Leverage Over Iran

| Feb. 15, 2021

While U.S. sanctions have caused Iran’s economy major challenges and limited Iran’s access to financial resources, they have not succeeded in changing Tehran’s behavior regarding its nuclear program. Indeed, Iran has not offered additional concessions. Instead, it has engaged in its own leverage-building strategy by ramping up its nuclear activities, missile program, and regional activities. Iran is not only closer to having the capacity to build a bomb, but even the political discourse of key officials on whether to cross that threshold has been shifting.

Soldiers assigned to the New York National Guard's 24th Civil Support Team based at Ft. Hamilton, search for a simulated weapon of mass destruction based on elevated radioactivity levels they found in a warehouse during an exercise in Brooklyn, N.Y., Oct. 22, 2019. The 22 person team made up of Airmen and Soliders of the NYNG respond to incidents of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive, and every 18 months have to go through an evaluation where the unit is certified in their mission.

U.S. Army National Guard photo by Ryan Campbell

Analysis & Opinions - European Leadership Network

It’s Time to Prohibit Radiological Weapons

    Authors:
  • Sarah Bidgood
  • Samuel Meyer
  • William C. Potter
| Feb. 01, 2021

Today, the origins of the concept of RW have largely been forgotten.  Indeed, since 9/11, radiological weapons have been associated mainly with non-state actors, who may not have the means or motivations to acquire and use far more lethal nuclear explosives.  A fixation on the very real dangers posed by nuclear terrorism, however, should not obscure the risks that states also may again pursue radiological weapons.

Then-candidate Joe Biden in 2019.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - European Leadership Network

Nuclear Diplomacy in the Biden Administration

| Jan. 06, 2021

The Biden administration not only inherits a country where COVID-19 is surging and jobs are hemorrhaging, but he also takes over a perilous global landscape when it comes to nuclear arms control and disarmament. The Trump years saw the dissolution of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (i.e. the Iran nuclear deal) and the Open Skies Treaty. President Trump has not extended New START, the last remaining arms control treaty, leaving 16 days for the new administration to work out an extension before the treaty expires.