Nuclear Issues

79 Items

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Global Economy Confronts Four Geopolitical Risks

| December 28, 2015

The end of the year is a good time to consider the risks that lie ahead of us. There are of course important economic risks, including the mispricing of assets caused by a decade of ultra-low interest rates, the shifts in demand caused by the Chinese economy’s changing structure, and European economies’ persistent weakness. But the main longer-term risks are geopolitical, stemming from four sources: Russia, China, the Middle East, and cyberspace.

Although the Soviet Union no longer exists, Russia remains a formidable nuclear power, with the ability to project force anywhere in the world. Russia is also economically weak because of its dependence on oil revenue at a time when prices are down dramatically. President Vladimir Putin has already warned Russians that they face austerity, because the government will no longer be able to afford the transfer benefits that it provided in recent years.

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.

Ministers of the P5+1 countries meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna in November 2014

U.S Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Seven Realities That Made an Iran Deal Almost Inevitable

| July 21 2015

Much of the immediate commentary on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between the P5+1 and Iran on July 14 focused on the deal’s details as well as its many shortcomings. Most of these reactions, both favoring and opposing the agreement, focused on elements of the nuclear package itself.

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

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (left) and Secretary of State John Kerry (center) meeting in Vienna to discuss the Iran nuclear agreement.

Carlos Barria/Agence France-Presse

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Crucial Questions Remain as Iran Nuclear Talks Approach Deadline

| June 28, 2015

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator was heading back to Tehran on Sunday to consult with his nation’s leadership, as negotiators remained divided over how to limit and monitor Tehran’s nuclear program and even on how to interpret the preliminary agreement they reached two months ago.

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

Fall/Winter 2014-15 Belfer Center Newsletter

| Fall/Winter 2014-2015

The Fall/Winter 2014/15 issue of the Belfer Center newsletter features recent and upcoming activities, research, and analysis by members of the Center community on critical global issues. This edition highlights discussions at the Belfer Center about Iran and its nuclear program. Former U.S. National Security Advisor and Center Senior Fellow Thomas Donilon and former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror added their voices to Center debate on this issue during a Harvard Kennedy School forum on a possible deal to prevent development of nuclear weapons in Iran.

In "Stopping ISIL," a number of Belfer Center security experts weigh in on what must be done in the next year to stop the spread and brutality of the Islamic State (ISIL). Graham Allison, Nicholas Burns, Chuck Freilich, Nawaf Obaid, Ariane Tabatabai, Payam Mohseni, David Petraeus, Gary Samore, and Barak Mendelsohn suggest solutions to this strategic challenge.

And much more...

Journal Article - Geopolitics, History, and International Relations

Iran and Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Military Dynamics of Non-Proliferation

| 2014

Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are not suitable for the Iranian Army, given its non-mechanized nature; its defensive military posture; its current status as a non-nuclear weapon state; and its sufficient conventional preparation to meet its protective security interests. This paper proposes three interlinked policy approaches to resolve the current impasse.