Nuclear Issues

19 Items

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen in Beijing as Chinese battle tanks roll by during a Sept. 3, 2015 parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II.

(AP Photo)

Magazine Article - The Atlantic

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

| September 24, 2015

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meet in Paris to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal.

United States Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Assessing an Iran Deal: 5 Big Lessons from History

| July 7, 2015

As the policy community prepares to assess an agreement between the U.S. and its P5+1 partners and Iran, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker asked me to review the history of analogous agreements for lessons that illuminate the current challenge. In response to his assignment, I reviewed the seven decades of the nuclear era, during which the U.S. negotiated arms-control treaties, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968; strategic arms limitation talks and agreements from SALT to New Start; the North Korean accord of 1994; the agreements that helped eliminate nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in the early 1990s; and the pact that eliminated the Libyan nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Among many lessons and clues from this instructive history, five stand out

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Saving the World at Plutonium Mountain

| August 16, 2013

Last October, at the foot of a rocky hillside near here, at a spot known as Degelen Mountain, several dozen Kazakh, Russian and American nuclear scientists and engineers gathered for a ceremony. The modest ribbon-cutting marked the conclusion of one of the largest and most complex nuclear security operations since the Cold War — to secure plutonium (enough to build a dozen or more nuclear weapons) that Soviet authorities had buried at the testing site years before and forgotten, leaving it vulnerable to terrorists and rogue states. The effort spanned 17 years, cost $150 million and involved a complex mix of intelligence, science, engineering, politics and sleuthing. This op-ed is based on documents and interviews with Kazakh, Russian and U.S. participants, and reveals the scope of the operation for the first time.

Various images shown on screens at the General Satellite Control and Command Center show the launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, Dec. 12, 2012, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

AP Photo

Policy Brief - National Bureau of Asian Research

The Leap in North Korea's Ballistic Missile Program: The Iran Factor

| December 2012

John S. Park, Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Project on Managing the Atom Associate, argues that cooperation between North Korea and Iran has been a critical—yet underexamined—enabler of North Korea's recent success. He concludes that the time has come for the United States to view the two previously independent missile programs as two sides of the same coin and recommends strategies for disrupting the procurement channels between Iran and North Korea.