21 Items

Analysis & Opinions - East Asia Institute

The Ukraine War and Its Repercussions on East Asia Security and Stability

| Jan. 20, 2023

On February 24, 2022, the post-World War Ⅱ world order ceased. What comes next is unclear, but all signs point to a more unstable, unpredictable international landscape where brute force and military superiority are the ordering principles. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, inevitably and inexorably, will bear immense consequences for what once was a rule-based global order. Let me highlight the main four.

First, the Ukraine war has sparked what the United Nations has called a complex emergency, where multiple crises, including food, energy, and security, are unfolding concurrently and at a very rapid pace worldwide. Second, the invasion of Ukraine has further amplified the centrality of nuclear weapons in the 21st-century strategic landscape. Third, it has brought China, India, and the Russian Federation’s “friendship” into greater focus. Fourth, it has encouraged countries like Iran and North Korea to continue expanding their illicit military technology exports.

All these factors will play a vital role in Asia. How the Asian countries will choose to manage them will very much determine the prospects for peace and security in the region and beyond.

Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on April 8, 2022

Wikimedia Commons/ President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official website

Magazine Article - Arms Control Today

Negative Security Assurances After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

| July 07, 2022

On February 24, the international community took a catastrophic blow. Already battered by two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and deteriorating interstate relations, it stood in horror as Russian forces unleashed an unprovoked war on a neighboring country. Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and reject Ukraine’s very existence as a separate state is ominous and highly momentous for the future of the world order.

Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant Groundbreaking Ceremony

Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation via Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Five reasons that Russia’s nuclear exports will continue, despite sanctions and the Ukraine invasion. But for how long?

| May 17, 2022

By many measures, Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy company, Rosatom, has primacy in the global nuclear energy market. At any given moment, the firm provides technical expertise, enriched fuel, and equipment to nuclear reactors around the world. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and, more acutely, the Russian military’s dangerous actions at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have many countries rethinking their dependence on Russian nuclear products and searching for alternatives. Additionally, the ensuing global effort to cripple Russian access to international markets calls into question the viability of current contracts, government licensing, and financial instruments involved in Russia’s nuclear exports.

Released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile is launched from Plesetsk in Russia's northwest.

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

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

The Role of Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century

| Spring 2022

On May 10, the Belfer Center Project on Managing the Atom launched the Research Network on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence to address two fundamental and interrelated questions: (1) Given the deteriorating geopolitical and security landscape, how do we make sure nuclear deterrence does not fail? And (2) What alternatives can replace nuclear deterrence, and what conditions should exist to materialize them?

teaser image

Analysis & Opinions

L’invasione dell’Ucraina e il rischio nucleare.

| Apr. 19, 2022

La mia valutazione dei possibili rischi di uso di armi non convenzionali (anche tattiche nucleari) nel conflitto in Ucraina deriva in parte da precedenti storici importanti e in parte dalla mia esperienza diplomatica. Mi spiego meglio. Se guardiamo alla storia dei rischi nucleari, vediamo che in altri conflitti, paesi con armi atomiche hanno minacciato il loro uso per portare a conclusione il conflitto a loro vantaggio. L’amministrazione Eisenhower per esempio contemplò l’utilizzo di armi atomiche nel conflitto coreano per scoraggiare l’intervento della Cina. Israele nella famosa guerra dello Yom Kippur nel 1973 minacciò esplicitamente l’uso di armi nucleari per deterrenza nei confronti dell’invasione delle truppe arabe. In questi conflitti, tuttavia, i paesi con armi atomiche sono riusciti poi a prevalere con armi convenzionali e senza il ricorso alle armi nucleari. Abbiamo avuto altri conflitti che hanno coinvolto paesi con armi atomiche – l’Unione Sovietica in Afghanistan e l’America in Iraq – dove i paesi con arsenali atomici alla fine sono stati sconfitti ma non hanno fatto ricorso alle armi atomiche.

Putin at a Presentation Ceremony for Officers and Prosecutors Appointed to Higher Positions

Wikimedia Commons/ Press Service of the President

Analysis & Opinions

Attacco Nucleare di Putin? Ora Basta Un Piccolo Incidente.

| Apr. 04, 2022

Il rischio atomico resta alto. Ce lo conferma un'esperta del settore, la professoressa Francesca Giovannini, direttrice esecutiva del Project on Managing the Atom presso il Belfer Center della Harvard University e già collaboratrice della CTBTO, l'organo con sede a Vienna che vigila sulla messa al bando dei test atomici.

Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (War Ukraine) from 2015

Wikimedia Commons/ Ministry of Defense Ukraine

News - Il Fatto Quotidiano

“Putin avanzerà, ma a Kiev nessun governo fantoccio”

| Mar. 07, 2022

Noi che siamo spettatori dell’abisso, come dice Ian McEwan, a cosa dobbiamo ancora assistere? Alla conquista da parte di Vladimir Putin, per via della sua enorme supremazia, di tutte le centrali nucleari. Riuscirà anche a disarticolare i presidi logistici della difesa di Kiev.

teaser image


Nuclear Energy Agency Appoints Francesca Giovannini and Aditi Verma to Working Groups

| Mar. 03, 2022

Two members of the Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) team have been appointed to working groups at the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA). MTA Executive Director Dr. Francesca Giovannini and Visiting Scholar Dr. Aditi Verma join working groups in support of the NEA’s Global Forum on Nuclear Education, Science, Technology, and Policy. The Global Forum creates a framework for global cooperation and engagement between universities and policymakers from NEA member countries. 

teaser image

News - El Pais

Is Putin Willing to Press the Nuclear Button? Keys to Understanding the Kremlin’s Strategy

| Mar. 03, 2022

Francesca Giovannini, the executive director of the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science, believes that the nuclear option, while improbable, should not be completely ruled out. “The circumstances are very complex,” she argues. “And he [Putin] is under a huge amount of pressure.”

And then there are the extreme circumstances of the moment. “I think that he is under huge internal pressure,” says Giovannini. “He’s not crazy. I don’t think that he would launch a strategic bomb. But it worries me that he could consider the option of a tactical one. To send a message that he is prepared to do anything to defend Russian interests. Thinking that perhaps an attack with a tactical warhead in Ukraine would not trigger a military reaction from NATO against Russia.”