357 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.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. May 3, 2017.

Air Force photo/2nd Lt. William Collette

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy

Wed., Nov. 7, 2018 | 10:00am - 11:30am

Littauer Building - Fainsod Room, 324

Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University and the Deputy Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, will discuss his new book The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy.

President Lyndon Johnson looking on as Secretary of State Dean Rusk prepares to sign the NPT, 1 July 1968.

Courtesy of Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Seminar - Open to the Public

The Hegemon's Toolkit: U.S. Hegemony and the Politics of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime

Thu., Oct. 11, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Rebecca Davis Gibbons, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program

The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is widely credited with contributing to international security through its promotion of nuclear restraint. Whereas almost all states in the international system are members of the NPT, many of these states have not signed on to additional treaties and agreements designed to strengthen the regime. Having already committed to foreswear the possession of nuclear weapons, why would some NPT members avoid taking steps to further the treaty's proclaimed goals? States' affinity to U.S. global leadership explains such variation.

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.