44 Items

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence, holds up a signed executive order to increase sanctions on Iran on June 24.

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Deescalation Wanted: How Trump Can Steer Clear of a War

| June 26, 2019

The United States and Iran have engaged in a constant raising of the stakes as a means of securing leverage ahead of possible nuclear negotiations. This is a classic bargaining pattern but in the current context, such an approach is particularly risky due to the potential for misperceptions. The complexities of domestic and regional dynamics are also a factor. In such a situation, absent clear understanding of the other’s motivations and tactics, raising the stakes—rather than securing leverage for effective negotiations—could steer the United States and Iran towards a path toward war.

Truck transporting coal on a smoggy day in Beijing

Hans-Peter Hein/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Key Challenges for China's Carbon Emissions Trading Program

| May 2019

China's national carbon emissions trading program is expected to become the world's largest carbon market and is critical for achieving China's domestic mitigation goals. But China's trading program is likely to face significant challenges, due to its large scale and high complexity. To address these challenges, we provide a series of policy recommendations, including capacity building from central to local levels, wise selection of allowance allocation methods to cope with changing economic realities, and deepening market-oriented reforms in energy sectors and SOEs.

A DF-15B short-range ballistic missile as seen after the military parade held in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in 2015 (Wikimedia/IceUnshattered).

Wikimedia/IceUnshattered

Analysis & Opinions - East Asia Forum

China's Calculus After the INF Treaty

| May 08, 2019

It seems that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is coming to an end. The Treaty prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or testing land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500–5500 kilometres, including both conventional and nuclear-armed missiles. On 1 February 2019, US President Trump said that he would suspend obligations under the INF Treaty and initiate the withdrawal procedure. After withdrawing, the United States might deploy conventional and nuclear missiles to the West Pacific against China. How would the potential deployment of each missile type impact China’s security?

Senator Lugar at a 2012 ceremony where he received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award the Department of Defense can give a civilian, for his work to help denuclearize countries after the fall of the Soviet Union (DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo).

DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Senator Richard G. Lugar: An Appreciation

| Apr. 30, 2019

Sen. Richard Lugar—with his legislative partner, Sen. Sam Nunn—imagined the unimaginable. He championed a program to provide assistance to military forces in the former Soviet republics holding tens of thousands of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons aimed at the United States and our allies, shortly after America’s existential enemy, the Soviet Union, expired. All told, the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program provided more than $14 billion to, among other things, deactivate 13,300 nuclear warheads, eliminate 1,473 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and destroy almost 40,000 metric tons of chemical agents. The US departments of Defense and Energy also worked with Russia to improve security at 148 sites still holding nuclear weapons or weapons-grade material from Murmansk to Kamchatka.

A U.S. Trident II missile launches (Wikimedia Commons).

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Can This New Approach to Nuclear Disarmament Work?

| Jan. 23, 2019

An estimated 14,485 nuclear weapons exist on earth today — most are far more powerful than those that twisted railway ties, leveled buildings, and crushed, poisoned, and burned human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The majority of these weapons belong to the United States and Russia. For some in the U.S. government, including Chris Ford, assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, this number represents significant disarmament progress since Cold War highs of over 70,000 nuclear weapons. They argue the current security environment means that further reductions are not possible at this time. In contrast, for many disarmament advocates and officials from non-nuclear weapons states, this number is still far too high. They are now clamoring to ban all nuclear weapons. Because of this divide, according to Ford, we currently face a “disarmament crisis.”

The K-pop group BTS receiving an award in Seoul in January 2017 (AJEONG_JM, Wikimedia/Creative Commons).

AJEONG_JM, Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

BTS, the "Atomic Bomb Shirt," and South Korean Attitudes Toward Nuclear Weapons

| Nov. 19, 2018

Over the past few weeks, BTS members have found themselves entangled in a bizarre scandal over an “atomic bomb shirt” that led to the cancellation of their appearance on a popular TV Asahi music show in Japan, which has been the main foreign source of revenues for K-pop groups since the 1990s. The 23-year-old singer, Jimin, was caught on the street wearing a white t-shirt bearing the slogan “Patriotism Our History Liberation Korea” repeated in numerous lines and overlapped by a black-and-white picture of the mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb that the United States detonated over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto speaks during a press conference regarding the upcoming Trump-Putin Summit, in his official residence, Helsinki, Finland on Thursday, June 28, 2018. (Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The Trump-Putin Summit’s Potential Nuclear Fallout

| July 10, 2018

The July 16 summit in Helsinki between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin presents a unique opportunity to reverse the dangerous nuclear competition between the United States and Russia and should be welcomed, despite its inherent risks. The opportunity to stabilize U.S.-Russian nuclear relations by extending New START, a key nuclear treaty that is set to expire in 2021, is paramount and worth the issues that come with any meeting between Trump and Putin.

Heads of delegation for 2016 Nuclear Security Summit gather for family photo in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2016.

Ben Solomon/U.S. Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Rhetoric Aside, the US Commitment to Preventing Nuclear Terrorism is Waning

| Apr. 19, 2018

With the world focused on the United States and North Korea, it’s easy to forget that every president for a quarter-century has said preventing nuclear terrorism was a national security priority. This includes the Trump administration, which identified in its Nuclear Posture Review that nuclear terrorism is one of “the most significant threats to the security of the United States.” It appears, however, despite this strong rhetoric, the administration may not be putting its money where its mouth is.

AP/Evan Vucci, Wong Maye-E

AP/Evan Vucci, Wong Maye-E

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A Roadmap for the Day After the Trump-Kim Summit

| Apr. 17, 2018

President Trump surprised almost everyone—probably not the least Kim Jong-un—when he agreed to meet the North Korean leader at the end of May (now maybe early June). By accepting Kim’s invitation, President Trump overturned decades of conventional wisdom on how to separate North Korea from its nuclear and other WMD programs. If Trump and Kim meet—as of now this is still a big “if,” although North Korea has now confirmed its willingness to meet directly—the summit could be an important ice breaker and open up a chance to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis and bring peace to the Korean peninsula. But success, however remote it may seem, will require new thinking and entail major risks. It will also require a plan.

People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, left, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 9, 2018.

AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Why the United States Might Accept a Nuclear North Korea

| Mar. 22, 2018

Many Americans were aghast at President Trump’s announcement this month that he would meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

But in moving toward diplomacy, Trump is following in the steps of previous presidents. If he continues down their path, the end result would be a deal that allows Pyongyang to keep its nuclear weapons — not because Trump gets taken in by Kim, but because such a deal boosts American interests. Since World War II, the United States has labored to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading. But once a country has them, Washington ultimately accommodates it, opting to develop some kind of diplomatic influence, if not control, over other nuclear powers, instead of going to war.