70 Events

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.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Asia-Pacific Nuclear Governance: Feeble, Fragmented but Fixable?

Wed., Mar. 29, 2017 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Nuclear governance at the regional level in Asia-Pacific is alarmingly fragmented and feeble. An array of disparate, small bodies with varying memberships seek to address safety, security, nonproliferation, and disarmament, but without adding much to the global arrangements. Dr. Findlay will examine the future likely trajectory of nuclear energy in the region, the regional drivers of and constraints on strengthened regional governance, and the likelihood of a comprehensive, integrated nuclear governance regime emerging.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Russian Cyber Operations: 2017 and Beyond

Wed., Feb. 1, 2017 | 4:15pm - 5:45pm

Littauer Building - Malkin Penthouse, 4th Floor

Speakers: David SangerDr. Fiona HillDr. Michael Sulmeyer, Dr. Ben Buchanan.

Cyber Security Project Director Dr. Michael Sulmeyer will lead a discussion on the future of Russian Cyber Operations with New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution Dr. Fiona Hill, and Cyber Security Project Fellow Dr. Ben Buchanan.

This event is open to the public, but seating will be on a first come - first served basis.

Is the United States Trying to Aim Its National Missile Defense at China?

U.S. Missile Defense

Seminar - Open to the Public

Is the United States Trying to Aim Its National Missile Defense at China?

Wed., Dec. 14, 2016 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

This talk will focus on the technical aspects of the THAAD missile defense system that are relevant to the domestic and foreign policy debates in South Korea and the United States over the deployment of this missile defense. It will be shown that the THAAD missile defense will be very susceptible to simple countermeasures that are well within the technical capacity of North Korea to implement.

Missile silo of a SS-24 missile, Strategic Missile Forces Museum in Ukraine. 8 March 2008.

Creative Commons

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Power of the NPT: International Norms and Nuclear Disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, 1990–1994

Thu., Dec. 1, 2016 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

There is a lingering disagreement among scholars on how the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) affects nonproliferation and disarmament outcomes, in particular the political motivations of states to acquire or renounce nuclear weapons. Drawing on constructivist scholarship, this research project conceptualizes a range of normative mechanisms through which international norms and regimes could affect domestic political deliberations and proceeds to examine them in the cases of nuclear disarmament of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

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