Nuclear Issues

804 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. 

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.

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.

Photo taken on Feb. 15, 1989, people and relatives greet Soviet Army soldiers driving on their armored personnel carriers after crossing a bridge on the border between Afghanistan and then Soviet Uzbekistan near the Uzbek town of Termez, Uzbekistan.

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Lessons for Leaders: What Afghanistan Taught Russian and Soviet Strategists

| Feb. 28, 2019

The following is a selection of military-political lessons gleaned mostly from the recollections of Soviet strategists who were involved in making and executing the fateful decision to send troops to Afghanistan, as well as from writings by some of post-Soviet Russia’s prominent military analysts. Where possible, the author made an effort to relay these strategists’ analysis of the failures and successes of the intervention because he felt that such assessments, based on first-hand experience, are not always given their due in English-language literature on the subject. 

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.

Richard Visek, left, agent of the U.S.A. and members of the U.S. delegation waits for judges to enter the International Court of Justice

AP/Peter Dejong

Analysis & Opinions - Lawfare

Certain Iranian Assets: The International Court of Justice Splits the Difference Between the United States and Iran

| Feb. 14, 2019

In its Feb. 13 judgment, the International Court of Justice framed the Certain Iranian Assets (Iran v. United States) case as a simple case about treaty interpretation. It significantly narrowed what could have been a major case on the international law of state immunity, which would likely have resulted in a rebuke of U.S. practice with respect to the terrorism exception under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Trump’s Iraq Visit Alone Won’t Undo Damage He Did Last Week

The White House from Washington, DC/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg Opinion

Trump’s Iraq Visit Alone Won’t Undo Damage He Did Last Week

| Dec. 26, 2018

The move of President Donald Trump to visit Baghdad on Wednesday is a small, good one, amid a week of calamitous decisions. The press will understandably highlight the time that Trump spends with U.S. troops. Yet a key objective of the trip will have been to shore up the new Iraqi government's confidence in the U.S., as Iraqi officials must be high on the list of those shocked by the president’s recent decisions to rapidly withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan. Perhaps the president has realized that his administration has some hard work to do if there is any hope of keeping his latest determinations from dramatically strengthening Iran.

Wendy Sherman, Belfer Center Senior Fellow and forthcoming Director of the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, answers a question from a student during a JFK Jr. Forum focusing on Sherman’s career as a diplomat and negotiator.

Martha Stewart

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

Q&A: Wendy Sherman

| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

Ambassador and Belfer Center Senior Fellow Wendy R. Sherman, the former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, will lead HKS’s Center for Public Leadership and become a professor of the practice of public leadership in January. Sherman, who negotiated with the North Koreans and the Iranians on nuclear issues, is the author of Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns discusses US President Trump's Foreign Policy

WGBH

Analysis & Opinions - WGBH

Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns Discusses Trump’s Foreign Policy

| Nov. 15, 2018

It's been six months since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said they came to an agreement on denuclearization, but new satellite images published this week by an independent Washington think tank showed at least 13 previously undeclared missile operating bases in North Korea.