Nuclear Issues

25 Items

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.

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.

In this March 6, 2013 photo, a warning sign is shown attached to a fence at the 'C' Tank Farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, near Richland, Wash.

(AP Photo)

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

Belfer Center Experts Provide Analysis and Commentary on 2016 Nuclear Security Summit

April 5, 2016

Leading up to and during the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Belfer Center experts released reports, published commentary, and provided insight and analysis into global nuclear security. In advance of the Summit, the Project on Managing the Atom set the stage for discussion with the report Preventing Nuclear Terrorism: Continuous Improvement or Dangerous Decline?

An in-progress compilation of the expert commentary and analysis is available here.

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Putin’s Change of Heart on Assad Could Pave Way for Cooperation against ISIL

| August 10, 2015

There have emerged multiple signs this summer that Russia’s Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering expediency of continued support for Syria’s Bashir Al-Assad. If these signs do reflect a shift in the Russian leader’s position on Syria, then it would enhance chances of finding a compromise solution on transition of power in Damascus in what would strengthen multilateral efforts to stabilize this country and rout the Islamic State.There have emerged multiple signs this summer that Russia’s Vladimir Putin may be reconsidering expediency of continued support for Syria’s Bashir Al-Assad. If these signs do reflect a shift in the Russian leader’s position on Syria, then it would enhance chances of finding a compromise solution on transition of power in Damascus in what would strengthen multilateral efforts to stabilize this country and rout the Islamic State.

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottmoeller discusses the importance of cooperation on global security issues.

Belfer Center

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

U.S.-Russia Conference Aims to Reduce Tensions

Spring 2015

For two days in October, Russian and American experts met at the Belfer Center to discuss the state of U.S.-Russia relations and look for glimmers of hope.

Unfortunately, few were seen. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine is only the most urgent manifestation of a deeply troubled relationship between Russia and the West—in particular the United States. As one Russian participant stated, “We should deal first with the problems that existed even before Ukraine.”

Fighters of the Azov Battalion cook food during a break in the town of Shyrokyne, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Government and Russian-backed separatist forces face off against one another across an unseen line cutting through the town.

(AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

Analysis & Opinions - Financial Times

Knowing when it's war and how to avoid it

| March 18, 2015

To hear Vladimir Putin say it, Russia is not at war with Ukraine. “I think that this apocalyptic scenario is highly unlikely, and I hope it never comes to that,” Putin said when asked on Russia’s Defender of the Fatherland Day whether his fellow citizens may “wake up one day to learn we are at war” with Ukraine. It can be inferred that the commander-in-chief of the Russian armed force believes (or wants us to believe) that there will be no war between Russia and Ukraine for as long as Moscow refuses to admit to its involvement in the conflict. But is there such a thing as a declared war any more? And how should other European nations respond if they become the target of an undeclared war? What can be done to prevent repetition of the Ukraine scenario elsewhere in Europe?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva, Jan. 2015.

AP Photo/Rick Wilking, Pool

Analysis & Opinions - National Review Online

Avoiding Failure in the Iran Nuclear Talks

| January 9, 2015

The U.S. negotiating strategy in nuclear talks with Iran is failing. To date, these negotiations have focused almost solely on topics that Iran wants to talk about — how many thousands of uranium-enrichment centrifuges Tehran will continue to operate, and how soon sanctions will be lifted. This all but guarantees an outcome that will fail to block the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons at a time of its choosing.