Nuclear Issues

26 Items

Collapse of Soviet Union Pro-democracy demonstrators file across Moscow's Crimean Bridge to link up with thousands more converging on a square in the downtown area in Moscow, Feb. 23, 1990. Those in the foreground wave flags and banners of one of the organization seeking free elections throughout the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko)

AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

The Soviet Collapse and Its Lessons for Modern Russia: Gaidar Revisited

| Dec. 22, 2016

Although Russia has evolved in many ways since 1991, it’s worth taking a second look at the drivers behind the Soviet collapse and assessing which of them may be relevant for today’s Russia or could become relevant in the near to medium-term future.

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

A Russian SU-27 Flanker aircraft banks away with a RAF Typhoon in the background. RAF Typhoons were scrambled on Tuesday 17 June 2014 to intercept multiple Russian aircraft as part of NATO's ongoing mission to police Baltic airspace.

RAF/MOD

Analysis & Opinions - The Korea Times

The Challenge of Russia's Decline

| April 19, 2015

"...Russia seems doomed to continue its decline ― an outcome that should be no cause for celebration in the West. States in decline ― think of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1914 ― tend to become less risk-averse and thus much more dangerous. In any case, a thriving Russia has more to offer the international community in the long run."

Analysis & Opinions - Power & Policy Blog

The Plutonium Mountain Mission: Lessons

| Sep. 27, 2013

In Summer of 2013, The Project on Managing the Atom released “Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Dangerous Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing.” In the report, Eben Harrell and David Hoffman tell how dedicated scientists and engineers in three countries overcame suspicions, secrecy, bureaucracy, and logistical obstacles to secure more than a dozen bombs worth of plutonium that had been left behind at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the outline of the Semipalatinsk operation had been made public before, the report filled in new details.

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.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Quarterly Journal: International Security

Belfer Center Newsletter Spring 2011

| Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 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 issue highlights the Belfer Center’s continuing efforts to build bridges between the United States and Russia to prevent nuclear catastrophe – an effort that began in the 1950s. This issue also features three new books by Center faculty that sharpen global debate on critical issues: God’s Century, by Monica Duffy Toft, The New Harvest by Calestous Juma, and The Future of Power, by Joseph S. Nye.

An Afghan man sits by torn and defaced election posters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2010. Afghanistan's president has taken control of a formerly independent body that monitors election fraud, snarling U.S. efforts to erode Taliban support.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The Huffington Post

The American Syndrome: Seeing the World as We Like It

| March 10, 2010

...[I]n Afghanistan, the American vision is that of a "bottom up" approach in a negotiation with the overwhelmingly Pashtun Taliban, not a "top down" one. In other words, coaxing away low-level Taliban fighters and their commanders ("reintegration"), rather than changing the government setup at Kabul by letting Taliban leaders become members of the government ("reconciliation"). Though reintegration may have some initial success, spurred on by money and jobs, it is unlikely to be permanent, given the Afghans' long history of changing sides. But also because those fighting against the US-backed government appeal to much more than money. They have successfully mobilized nationalist and islamist sentiment among the Pashtuns, which is hard for a perceived-corrupt government to combat through financial incentives.

A nuclear security officer armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and 9mm hand gun patrols the coastal area of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, May 5, 2004, in Avila Beach, Calif.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Daedalus

Reducing the Greatest Risks of Nuclear Theft & Terrorism

| Fall 2009

"Keeping nuclear weapons and the difficult-to-manufacture materials needed to make them out of terrorist hands is critical to U.S. and world security — and to the future of nuclear energy as well. In the aftermath of a terrorist nuclear attack, there would be no chance of convincing governments, utilities, and publics to build nuclear reactors on the scale required for nuclear energy to make any significant contribution to coping with climate change."