74 Events

The USS Pennsylvania, a nuclear-armed Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine

U.S. Navy Photo

Seminar - Open to the Public

Nuclear Platform Diversification: A New Dataset

Thu., May 7, 2020 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Online

Speakers: Giles David Arceneaux, Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

Kyungwon Suh, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, Syracuse University

The deterrent capacity of a state's nuclear forces is dependent upon the platforms and delivery systems that constitute the arsenal. The mere possession of nuclear weapons does not provide a robust deterrent and nuclear states cannot credibly deter potential adversaries with nuclear threats in the absence of adequate delivery capabilities. The project presents a new dataset that measures the possession of seven nuclear delivery platforms across all nuclear powers from 1945–2019, including: submarine-launched missiles, strategic land-mobile missiles, strategic solid-fuel missiles, nuclear cruise missiles, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, long-range ballistic missiles, and tactical nuclear weapons.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar: https://harvard.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsf-6uqTwoHdZZJ3qqoP1Ohy78rsXBc5en

Shanghai at night

Kido Dong/Unsplash

Seminar - Open to the Public

Opportunities and Challenges in China's Carbon Market: From Model to Reality

Thu., Dec. 5, 2019 | 3:45pm - 5:00pm

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences - Pierce Hall

A Harvard-China Project Research Seminar with Cecilia Han Springer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources and Science, Technology and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. This event will be held in Pierce Hall, Room #100F.

Sponsored by the Harvard-China Project on Energy, Economy, and Environment; Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS); and the Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENRP) at Harvard Kennedy School.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CVA-16) underway in the Western Pacific, with Carrier Air Group 21 (CVG-21), on 16 August 1958. Just 8 days later, on 24 August, Communist Chinese artillery began shelling the Nationalist Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu, prompting the Blue Ghost's (as Lexington was called) deployment to the Taiwan Straits at various times during the next 4 months, along with other units of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

U.S. Navy

Seminar - Open to the Public

Playing with Fire: Provocation, Signaling, and Unwanted Crisis Escalation

Thu., Oct. 17, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Hyun-Binn Cho, Postdoctoral  Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

During international crises, states often take costly actions to signal resolve. Such coercive actions, however, can put greater political and psychological pressure on the opponent to counter-escalate. When costly signals are more "provocative," do they make unwanted crisis escalation more likely, or do they make the signal-sender look tough and help induce the opponent to back down? Indeed, why do states sometimes appear to deliberately engage in provocative actions to demonstrate resolve? This seminar addresses these puzzles using game-theoretic analysis and two case studies of crises involving China and the United States.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

The newly developed DF-26 medium-range ballistic missile as seen after the military parade held in Beijing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, 3 September 2015.

Wikimedia CC/IceUnshattered

Seminar - Open to the Public

Sino-U.S. Inadvertent Nuclear Escalation

Thu., Mar. 14, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: WU Riqiang, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

It is generally believed that in peacetime current Sino-U.S. nuclear relations are stable and deliberate nuclear exchanges between these two countries are unimaginable. However, conventional conflict might escalate to nuclear level, even if both sides wish to avoid it at the beginning of the war. This seminar will provide a causal mechanism of Sino-U.S. inadvertent escalation. Three driving factors are identified: the vulnerability of Chinese nuclear forces, the not-by-design co-mingling of China's conventional and nuclear weapons, and the fog of war. The security dilemma will worsen the situation and increase the escalatory risk. The mechanism is then tested via two hypothetical scenarios: a missile campaign and submarine warfare. In order to reduce the risk of inadvertent escalation, the United States should build confidence with China by declaring mutual vulnerability vis-à-vis China and constraining its strategic capabilities. China could also demarcate its nuclear and conventional missiles and clarify its no-first-use policy that conventional attacks on nuclear weapons would be regarded as nuclear attacks.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Satellite image of the half-built light water reactor site in North Korea.

Google Earth Image@2018 DigitalGlobe

Seminar - Open to the Public

Normalization by Other Means — The Failed Techno-diplomacy of Light Water Reactor Export in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis

Thu., Feb. 14, 2019 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Christopher Lawrence, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom

The history of U.S. engagement with North Korea offers important lessons that could help reframe the diplomatic impasse today. In the 1994 Agreed Framework (AF), the regime agreed to dismantle its plutonium-production complex in exchange for western light water reactors (LWR) and the promise of political normalization with the United States. As construction of the LWRs fell behind, however, North Korea embarked on a secret uranium enrichment program. Today, scholars and policymakers look back at the LWRs of the AF as a "carrot" — "we offered the carrot, and they cheated anyway." But when scholars and policymakers consider the unique technical attributes of LWRs and how their construction was planned to be situated within a diplomatic track to normalization, they appear to function more as a way to signal commitment than as a carrot to bribe the regime. In this light, chronic construction delays and the offset of LWR costs to U.S. allies can be interpreted as signals about America's lack of commitment to normalization with North Korea. This conceptual shift — from carrots and sticks to signaling and credibility — offers important insights into past diplomatic failures and could help reconcile the competing visions of engagement with North Korea today.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Military vehicles carry DF-5B intercontinental ballistic missiles during a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender during World War II held in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Sept. 3, 2015.

Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

Merits of Uncertainty: The Evolution and Future of China’s Nuclear Retaliatory Capability

Wed., Sep. 12, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Speaker: Wu Riqiang, Research Fellow with the International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom
 
A simplified nuclear exchange model will be developed to evaluate China’s past and current nuclear retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union and the United States. The modeling suggests that according to Western standards, China’s nuclear retaliation has been and remains far from “assured.” This result reflects China’s special nuclear philosophy, which emphasizes the role of nuclear taboo and prioritizes political control over survivability. However, in the face of U.S. advances in the areas of counterforce and missile defense, China probably has to continue to improve its nuclear forces qualitatively and, if necessary, quantitatively, in order to maintain its deterrent level.