Nuclear Issues

506 Items

Military helicopters fly over the training ground during strategic command and staff exercises Center-2019 at Donguz shooting range near Orenburg, Russia, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

AP Photo/Sergei Grits

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

Defense Playbook for Campaigns

    Authors:
  • Richard Kuzma
  • David Michelson
  • Jacqueline Parziale
  • Kathryn Reed
  • Ryan Solís
  • Tom Wester
  • William Wright
| March 2020

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) is predicated on a single organizing principle: America’s military pre-eminence is rapidly eroding. This is not a new concept. For years, experts have warned that the economic and technological advancements of U.S. adversaries, coupled with the 2008 financial crisis and America’s focus on peripheral conflicts, have caused a decline in America’s military dominance. 

In this context, the advances of near-peer competitors such as China and Russia have created plausible “theories of victory” in potential conflicts across Eastern Europe and East Asia. Competitors’ unaddressed improvements in strategic innovation, economic investment, and dual-use technology increases the risk of conflict and strains the U.S. alliance system. It is urgent that the United States reestablish and maintain credible deterrents against these near-peer competitors. After decades of focusing on post-Cold War ‘shaping’ operations, the American military needs to reinvigorate for full spectrum great power competition.

This report is intended as a blueprint on how to begin that process from graduate students at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Contained inside are 12 memorandums. Each provides a high-level overview and specific recommendations on a key issue of American defense policy. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin with U.S. President Donald Trump

Wikimedia CC/Kremlin.ru

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

How to Deal with a Declining Russia

| Nov. 05, 2019

It seems unlikely that Russia will again possess the resources to balance U.S. power in the same way that the Soviet Union did during the four decades after World War II. But declining powers merit as much diplomatic attention as rising ones do. Joseph S. Nye worries that the United States lacks a strategy to prevent Russia from becoming an international spoiler.

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.

A traditional Iranian bazaar in the city of Kashan

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Can Iran Weather the Trump Storm?

| May 03, 2019

In the past 10 years, oil exports have averaged about $67 billion in Iran. Last year, they dropped by two-thirds, and they are expected to drop below $30 billion this year.  There are reasons to believe that, with appropriate policies, the country can live with this level of oil exports, albeit at a reduced standard of living, and even do itself some good in the long run by reducing its dependence on oil.

Iran has been there before. In 2012, when President Obama ratcheted up U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil exports dropped by 27.5 percent, and GDP fell by 6.2 percent. In 2015, sanctions and the collapse of oil prices further reduced oil exports to $32 billion, a decade-long low, and GDP declined by 1.6 percent. If Iran’s leadership is to successfully resist U.S. demands, it must do more than find ways to evade sanctions. A lot depends on its ability to adopt a plan that reduces the economy’s dependence on oil, while distributing the burden of restructuring equitably across social groups.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions

The Unimportance Of New Oil Sanctions

| Apr. 25, 2019

For the Islamic Republic, resistance to Washington has become a cultural norm, and it considers independence (esteghlal) as the main achievement of the 1979 revolution.  According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iran would have to meet 12 conditions before the United States will renegotiate the nuclear deal and consider removing its sanctions. These conditions, which are nothing short of surrender on Iran’s part, are either set to force Iran out of the nuclear deal and therefore trigger the return of UN sanctions, or they are a thinly veiled call for regime change.

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

AP/Hasan Jamali

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Iran Oil Sanctions: A Rare Case Where Transactional Diplomacy Should Work

| Apr. 22, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s most recent announcement on Iran policy has raised some eyebrows. He indicated on Monday morning that the Trump administration will not renew waivers to importers of Iranian crude and that other suppliers (meaning Saudi Arabia) have agreed to increase production in to ensure the global oil market remains well-supplied. Skeptics question whether — after last summer’s debacle — there is sufficient trust between Washington and Riyadh for this arrangement to work. What skeptics may not have digested is that, while timing remains a problem, this is a classic win-win situation. It is a near-perfect example of the very limited universe of occasions when transactional diplomacy could actually work.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns Speaks About the Second U.S.-North Korea Summit

WGBH

Analysis & Opinions - WGBH News

North Korea Summit Take 2: What, If Anything, Can Trump Accomplish?

| Feb. 25, 2019

President Donald Trump travels this week to Vietnam, where preparations are underway for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. But while he declared today that the summit would be “tremendous,” the meeting comes in the wake of last year’s meeting, after which Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates directly disagreed with the Trump’s exuberant claims that the North Korean threat had largely been erased. So if Trump and his own foreign policy team can't even agree on the problem, are we really right around the corner from a deal with North Korea?

Jim Braude was joined by former undersecretary of state and U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Nicholas Burns, now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.