Nuclear Issues

1535 Items

This photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, shows a Russian Iskander-K missile launched during a military exercise at a training ground in Russia.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Analysis & Opinions - TIME Magazine

Will Russia Go Nuclear? 7 Key Questions to Consider

| Jan. 05, 2023

To begin to appreciate what President Biden, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, CIA Director Bill Burns, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan understand that most of the press and talking heads who have been discounting nuclear risks posed by the war in Ukraine don’t, it is useful to consider answers to seven questions.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is seen from around twenty kilometers away in an area in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

AP Photo/Leo Correa

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Lessons for the Next War: Nuclear Weapons Still Matter

| Jan. 05, 2023

Foreign Policy asked 12 experts to give us their views on the most important lessons of Russia’s war. Each writer is a prominent specialist in his or her field, and they answer a broad range of questions. Why did prevention and deterrence fail? What have we learned about strategy and technology on the battlefield? How do we deal with the return of nuclear threats? Some of these lessons are general, while others apply specifically to a potential conflict in Asia. 

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Analysis & Opinions

In Russia’s Nuclear Messaging to West and Ukraine, Putin Plays Both Bad and Good Cop

| Dec. 23, 2022

Should a nuclear war “never be unleashed?” Can nuclear weapons be used to “ensure the safety of the Russian people?” Both, according to President Vladimir Putin, who has become fond of alternating assertive and conciliatory tones in his messaging on the conditions for the use of nuclear arms. Such discourse comes as he tries to coerce Ukraine into accepting his land grabs and prevent the West from escalating assistance to Kyiv, all while keeping China content.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting in 2018.

AP Photo/ Mary Altaffer

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Russia’s “dirty bomb” disinformation, annotated

| Dec. 01, 2022

In late October, after eight months of war, the Russian government claimed that Ukraine was preparing to use a "dirty bomb" and blame it on Russia. There was never any evidence for this claim. But Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nbenzia, nevertheless sent a letter (reproduced below) demanding that the Security Council hold a meeting to discuss the "dirty bomb" issue.

Russia's claims have been widely dismissed. Nevertheless, Russian spokesmen are continuing to press the narrative.  (See, for example, the November 8 statement from Anatoliy Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, which slurs together with the dirty bomb theme a variety of other false claims about Ukraine.) It seems worthwhile, therefore, to debunk Russia's claims in detail.

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Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Davis Center for Russian Studies, and Indiana University

Putin’s Increasingly Loose Talk on Use of Nukes

    Editor:
  • Angelina Flood
| Nov. 10, 2022

When it comes to nuclear weapons, Russia’s recent doctrinal documents and official statements are quite consistent in describing the conditions under which the country could resort to using these weapons. The problem is, as I have noted when researching Vladimir Putin’s nuclear rhetoric, that he has been increasingly willing to expand these conditions in the context of his war in Ukraine. The Russian leader’s loose talk on nukes even has Russia’s long-term strategic partners such as India and China worried. But will their admonishments suffice to restrain Putin’s nuclear saber rattling? I would not bet on it.

North Korea launches a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile reported to be a Hwasong-17, its largest-known ICBM, on May 25, 2022.

Image via YTN & YTN plus

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Poll: Americans, Japanese, and South Koreans Don't Support Using Nuclear Weapons Against North Korea

| Oct. 25, 2022

For months, evidence has accumulated that North Korea may be preparing its seventh nuclear explosive test. Continuous warnings by analysts and the media about this possibility are a sobering reminder that Pyongyang's continued pursuit of a larger nuclear arsenal remains a challenge for the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the nonproliferation regime. This continues to be the case even as the public and leaders around the world have largely shifted their attention to the nuclear dimensions of the war in Ukraine.

On January 22, 2021, Foreign Minister of Austria Alexander Schallenberg gave a press conference on the entry into force of the TPNW at the Foreign Ministry in Vienna.

Austrian Foreign Ministry via Wikimedia Commons

Magazine Article - Arms Control Today

The First TPNW Meeting and the Future of the Nuclear Ban Treaty

| September 2022

As diplomats, activists, and researchers converged on Vienna in June for the first meeting of states-parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), recent tragic world events highlighted how critical it was to convene this multilateral forum on nuclear disarmament.

Since February, Russia’s war against Ukraine has epitomized the grave dangers of a world where nine states possess approximately 12,700 nuclear weapons.1 That Russia could invade a sovereign state and indiscriminately target its civilian population, while using nuclear threats to deter NATO from intervening, has stunned the world. It offers a stark reminder that possessing nuclear arms can enable abhorrent violations of international law

A screen shows U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken addresses the 2022 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, in the United Nations General Assembly

AP/Yuki Iwamura

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Sep. 05, 2022

Joseph Nye writes that Russian aggression and nuclear saber rattling have reminded us that the likelihood of nuclear war is a matter of both independent and interdependent probabilities. Paradoxically, reducing the probability of an all-out catastrophe requires that we learn to accept a certain degree of risk and uncertainty.

A type 094A Jin-class nuclear submarine Long March 10 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China's PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, April 23, 2019.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Then What? Assessing the Military Implications of Chinese Control of Taiwan

| Summer 2022

An analysis of Taiwan’s military value concludes that its reunification with China would improve Chinese submarine warfare and ocean surveillance capabilities, tipping the military balance in China’s favor. These findings have important implications for U.S. operational planning, policy, and grand strategy.