Nuclear Issues

567 Items

A nuclear advanced designated marksman assists in a launch facility exercise.

Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

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

A Sense of Purpose: The Bedrock of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

| June 2020

"The paradox of war is, the adversary will always move against your perceived weakness.  So a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought." Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis went on to say, "I am absolutely convinced that having this safe, secure, and effective deterrent is critical—the most critical piece of our nation's defense."  “At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform.” The question this paper addresses is: how do we motivate Airmen to give their best to perform this unsung duty, day after day, for years at a time?

 

Joseph Nye

Martha Stewart

Audio - Harvard Magazine

How Do Past Presidents Rank in Foreign Policy?

| Mar. 02, 2020

How do presidents incorporate morality into decisions involving the national interest? Moral considerations explain why Truman, who authorized the use of nuclear weapons in Japan during World War II, later refused General MacArthur's request to use them in China during the Korean War. What is contextual intelligence, and how does it explain why Bush 41 is ranked first in foreign policy, but Bush 43 is found wanting? Is it possible for a president to lie in the service of the public interest? In this episode, Professor Joseph S. Nye considers these questions as he explores the role of morality in presidential decision-making from FDR to Trump.

Members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron monitor an operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III missile

USAF/Michael Peterson

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Overwhelming Case for No First Use

| Jan. 13, 2020

The arguments in favor of the United States' declaring that the only purpose of its nuclear weapons is to deter others who possess them from using theirs — in other words, that in no circumstances will this country use nuclear weapons first — are far stronger than the arguments against this stance. It must be hoped that the next US administration will take this no-first-use step promptly.

Security Line at an Airport

ahlynk/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The Recurring Folly of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’

| Jan. 06, 2020

Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Friday that their city might be subject to retaliatory attacks from Iran. “I’m not saying this to be alarmist,” the mayor said as he and his underlings ticked off—in a slightly alarming fashion—a series of defensive measures the city might take after the American air strike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Though the New York Police Department had received no specific, credible threats, de Blasio and other officials warned of more bag checks at the subways and increased police presence throughout the city. The city is no stranger to terrorism and would maintain a better-safe-than-sorry posture. “If you see something, say something,” de Blasio said.

Recent talk of homeland threats, and the just-in-case operational response, are based on nothing more than the rather uncontroversial assessment that Iran will feel obliged to do something to respond to the killing of Soleimani. The homeland-security practices to which Americans became accustomed after 9/11 long ago became a bad habit—one more divorced than ever before from the kinds of threats the United States might actually face. Intended to calm the public, gestures like the ones de Blasio described presume that Iran would be both reckless and capable enough to target an American city—and that greater vigilance alone would prepare us for that possibility. Now nearly two decades old, the post-9/11 style of security theater also risks masking the real vulnerabilities in the American homeland against a potential Iranian action.

Photo of Iranian lawmakers chant anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans to protest against the U.S. killing of Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani, at the start of an open session of parliament in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. Soleimani's death Friday in Iraq further heightens tensions between Tehran and Washington after months of trading attacks and threats that put the wider Middle East on edge.

(Mohammad Hassanzadeh/Tasnim News Agency via AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The New York Times

The Dire Consequences of Trump's Suleimani Decision

| Jan. 04, 2020

Americans would be wise to brace for war with Iran, writes Susan Rice.

"Full-scale conflict is not a certainty, but the probability is higher than at any point in decades. Despite President Trump’s oft-professed desire to avoid war with Iran and withdraw from military entanglements in the Middle East, his decision to order the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s second most important official, as well as Iraqi leaders of an Iranian-backed militia, now locks our two countries in a dangerous escalatory cycle that will likely lead to wider warfare."

Photo of pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters stage a sit-in in front of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Analysis & Opinions - USA Today

Attack on U.S. Embassy in Iraq Shows Trump is Failing. He Walked into Iran's Trap.

| Jan. 02, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo started having a tough 2020 only one day into the new year. He was forced to postpone his trip to Kyiv, Ukraine, this week to attend to the new crisis in Iraq. As fraught as Pompeo’s visit to Kyiv was going to be, in the shadow of the impeachment battle, Iraq trumped Kyiv after the New Year’s Eve attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

It is President Donald Trump’s failed policy toward Iran that has brought us to this combustible moment.

Chinese military vehicles in parade.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Dangerous Confidence? Chinese Views on Nuclear Escalation

    Authors:
  • Fiona S. Cunningham
  • M. Taylor Fravel
| Fall 2019

China and the United States hold opposing beliefs about whether nuclear war can be avoided in a potential crisis or armed conflict. Taken together, these opposing beliefs increase the risk of nuclear escalation and can lead to greater crisis instability.