Nuclear Issues

469 Items

Ukraine flag

Benn Craig/Belfer Center

Analysis & Opinions - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

International History Declassified - Ukrainian Nuclear History and the Budapest Memorandum with Mariana Budjeryn

| Aug. 24, 2020

In this episode of International History Declassified, Kian and Pieter speak with Dr. Mariana Budjeryn of Harvard University's Belfer Center. Dr. Budjeryn explains the significance of the Budapest Memorandum, which was signed 25 years ago on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and which made Ukraine one of the few countries to give up its nuclear arsenal. Dr. Budjeryn also provides fascinating insight into her experiences researching in Ukrainian archives and interviewing Soviet generals.

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

Center Experts Reflect on 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, launching the nuclear age. On the 75th anniversary of that somber event, Belfer Center experts reflect on the event and its aftermath. 

mushroom cloud

Public Domain

Analysis & Opinions - Portland Press Herald

Listening to Atomic Bombing Survivors' Stories is More Important Than Ever

| Aug. 06, 2020

Rebecca Davis Gibbons writes that having a full appreciation of the consequences of nuclear weapons and their place in society means learning from the stories of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—but also from the stories from other survivors of nuclear explosions: those who lived and worked adjacent to testing sites in Algeria, French Polynesia, Australia, the United States, France, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Western China, and Kazakhstan.

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?

 

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, left, American President Bill Clinton, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, and British Prime Minister John Major sign the Budapest Memorandum on Dec. 5, 1994 (Marcy Nighswander/Associated Press).

Marcy Nighswander/Associated Press

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Budapest Memorandum at 25: Between Past and Future

| March 2020

On December 5, 1994, leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation met in Budapest, Hungary, to pledge security assurances to Ukraine in connection with its accession to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapons state. The signature of the so-called Budapest Memorandum concluded arduous negotiations that resulted in Ukraine’s agreement to relinquish the world’s third-largest nuclear arsenal, which the country inherited from the collapsed Soviet Union, and transfer all nuclear warheads to Russia for dismantlement. The signatories of the memorandum pledged to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability of its borders, and to refrain from the use or threat of military force. Russia breached these commitments with its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and aggression in eastern Ukraine, bringing the meaning and value of security assurance pledged in the Memorandum under renewed scrutiny.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the memorandum’s signature, the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, with the support of the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations and the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, hosted a conference to revisit the history of the Budapest Memorandum, consider the repercussions of its violation for international security and the broader nonproliferation regime, and draw lessons for the future. The conference brought together academics, practitioners, and experts who have contributed to developing U.S. policy toward post-Soviet nuclear disarmament, participated in the negotiations of the Budapest Memorandum, and dealt with the repercussions of its breach in 2014. The conference highlighted five key lessons learned from the experience of Ukraine’s disarmament, highlighted at the conference.

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.

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.

Iranian parliamentarians dressing in IRGC uniforms to demonstrate solidarity  following the Trump administration's terrorist designation of the organization.

IRNA

Analysis & Opinions

The Iran–U.S. Escalation: Causes and Prospects

| June 09, 2019

Despite the continuing debate in Tehran, the principle of “no negotiation under pressure” with the United States remains a consensual principle among all members of the current regime. The Supreme Leader has expressed this position by stating that the negotiations with the Trump administration are “double poison”. While Iran’s regional enemies are pushing for confrontation, the international community remains supportive of Tehran’s political position, as long as it stays committed to the nuclear deal. Existing indicators do not point at any willingness for confrontation from either side – at least at the moment. And although some regional actors have attempted to pacify the tension, the prospects for a truce remain unlikely within the current context.