Nuclear Issues

1153 Items

Ambassador Ivor Richard, left, of the United Kingdom, and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, right, raise their arms during vote, Friday, Nov. 4, 1977 at the United Nations Security Council.

(AP Photo/Dave Pickoff)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Caught Red-Handed: How States Wield Proof to Coerce Wrongdoers

| Fall 2021

States frequently acquire proof that other states have violated norms. Yet, existing theories do not fully explain how states wield such proof to coerce wrongdoers. Four case studies of nuclear proliferation probe a novel theory of how states coerce norm violators by concealing, sharing privately, or publicizing proof of guilt.

actical nuclear air-to-air rocket

Wkimedia CC/Boevaya mashina

Journal Article - Journal of Politics

Antinormative Messaging, Group Cues, and the Nuclear Ban Treaty

| Forthcoming

What types of foreign policy cues are most likely to turn public opinion against a popular emerging norm? Since 2017, the U.S. government has sought to discredit the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and its nuclear nonpossession norm among the largely prodisarmament American public. The authors fielded a national U.S. survey experiment (N=1,219) to evaluate the effects of these elite cues as well as social group cues on public opinion. Their study thus offers one of the first experimental assessments of public attitudes toward nuclear disarmament.

Signing of the SALT treaty between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. is observed by officials as U.S. President Richard Nixon, left and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, right, sign document in Moscow, May 26, 1972. (AP Photo)

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Arms Control as Wedge Strategy: How Arms Limitation Deals Divide Alliances

| Fall 2021

Wedge strategy theory explains how states use strategic arms control to divide adversaries by affecting their trust, threat perceptions, and beliefs about a commitment’s trade-offs. Examining three landmark arms control negotiations shows how the wedge motive was a key component to these negotiations.

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.

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News

Leading Scientists and Catholic Leaders Call on President Biden to Work for a World Free of the Nuclear Threat

| May 12, 2021

A letter signed by leading scientists—including the Belfer Center's Aditi Verma—and Catholic leaders urges the Biden administration to adopt several nuclear policies, including a declaration that the US will never use nuclear weapons first, work with Russia and then with other nations to verifiably reduce nuclear arsenals, and to affirm the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as complementary to existing agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

missile test

Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Falling in Love Again: U.S.-North Korean Relations and the Biden Administration

| Apr. 26, 2021

William d'Ambruoso explains why high-level engagement, built on a baseline of deterrence, lessens the chances of war and opens the way for future cooperation in North Korean–U.S. relations.

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.