1607 Items

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first Lady Kim Keon Hee depart to Madrid for NATO Summit at Seoul Air Base June 27, 2022

President Yoon Suk Yeol and first Lady Kim Keon Hee depart to Madrid for NATO Summit on June 27, 2022

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Dueling Nuclear Nightmares Behind the South Korean President’s Alarming Comments

| Jan. 25, 2023

Earlier this month, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol set off alarms. In an off-the-cuff remark, he warned that Seoul might need to develop nuclear weapons—or demand redeployment of U.S. nuclear arms to the Korean Peninsula—to counter North Korean nuclear threats. In doing so, Yoon spotlighted a popular view once reserved for hawkish commentators, defense intellectuals, and former military officials. Keeping nuclear weapons out of South Korea will ultimately be a U.S. responsibility that requires addressing both the deteriorating security environment and the domestic drivers underlying Yoon’s statement.

Photo of Street in Ukraine

Mariana Budjeryn

Analysis & Opinions - Inkstick

A Journey to the Edge of War and Peace

| Jan. 24, 2023

At the end of December 2022, I traveled to Ukraine to spend a couple weeks with my mom and celebrate old-calendar Christmas. I had not been back since the war started.

Since Feb. 24, 2022, I have followed the war closely, reading everything I could in reputable and not-so-reputable outlets, countless Twitter threads, and Telegram channels, talking daily with my mom, and staying in touch with Ukrainian colleagues and friends. I told my kids to be good, to mind their grades, and to learn to become more self-sufficient, their mother is off to war with Russia, and plunged into work, sharing what counted as my expertise on the history of Ukraine’s nuclear disarmament and Russian nuclear threats in countless interviews, podcasts, conferences, and articles, in English and Ukrainian. I responded to all requests, from CNN to a Jewish radio station in Pretoria. That, and donating to whatever drives hit my radar was the least I could do, I thought.

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.

Book - Johns Hopkins University Press

Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine

| Dec. 27, 2022

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left its nearly 30,000 nuclear weapons spread over the territories of four newly sovereign states: Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. This collapse cast a shadow of profound ambiguity over the fate of the world's largest arsenal of the deadliest weapons ever created. In Inheriting the Bomb, Mariana Budjeryn reexamines the history of nuclear predicament caused by the Soviet collapse and the subsequent nuclear disarmament of the non-Russian Soviet successor states.

Although Belarus and Kazakhstan renounced their claim to Soviet nuclear weapons, Ukraine proved to be a difficult case: with its demand for recognition as a lawful successor state of the USSR, a nuclear superpower, the country became a major proliferation concern. And yet by 1994, Ukraine had acceded to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapon state and proceeded to transfer its nuclear warheads to Russia, which emerged as the sole nuclear successor of the USSR.

How was this international proliferation crisis averted? Drawing on extensive archival research in the former Soviet Union and the United States, Budjeryn uncovers a fuller and more nuanced narrative of post-Soviet denuclearization. She reconstructs Ukraine's path to nuclear disarmament to understand how its leaders made sense of the nuclear armaments their country inherited. Among the various factors that contributed to Ukraine's nuclear renunciation, including diplomatic pressure from the United States and Russia and domestic economic woes, the NPT stands out as a salient force that provided an international framework for managing the Soviet nuclear collapse.

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

Preventing Another Cuban Missile Crisis

| Fall 2022

The Belfer Center’s Project on Managing the Atom, Intelligence Project, and Applied History Project organized a day-long conference in October to mark the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis and to discuss what we’ve learned from the CMC. Managing the Atom’s Mariana Budjeryn discusses the relevance of those lessons for today’s conflict in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden participates in his first official press conference Thursday, March 25, 2021, in the East Room of the White House.

(Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Biden’s Strategic Reviews: Implications for Global Security

| Dec. 10, 2022

This fall, the Biden administration released four important policy document reviews, providing a fresh insight into the United States’ strategic thinking. On October 12, the White House released the latest  National Security Strategy (NSS) of the Biden administration. Two weeks later, on October 27, the U.S. Department of Defense jointly released the unclassified versions of three other much-anticipated policy documents: the National Defense Strategy, (NDS) the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and the Missile Defense Review (MDR). 

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia speaks during a Security Council meeting in 2018.

AP Photo/ Mary Altaffer

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Russia’s “dirty bomb” disinformation, annotated

| Dec. 01, 2022

In late October, after eight months of war, the Russian government claimed that Ukraine was preparing to use a "dirty bomb" and blame it on Russia. There was never any evidence for this claim. But Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nbenzia, nevertheless sent a letter (reproduced below) demanding that the Security Council hold a meeting to discuss the "dirty bomb" issue.

Russia's claims have been widely dismissed. Nevertheless, Russian spokesmen are continuing to press the narrative.  (See, for example, the November 8 statement from Anatoliy Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, which slurs together with the dirty bomb theme a variety of other false claims about Ukraine.) It seems worthwhile, therefore, to debunk Russia's claims in detail.

People Almost Press a Red Button

Adobe Stock

Analysis & Opinions - ETH Zukunftsblog

The Nuclear Reality Is Unsettling

| Nov. 21, 2022

“I research nuclear arms control.” For years, this line produced blank stares in social settings as I tried to explain my job’s importance. After all, nuclear weapons are quite distant from the lives of most people, particularly since the Cold War has been over for decades.

Then came the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the West risked nuclear retaliation with attempts to assist Ukraine in the conflict.1 Suddenly, my Center for Security Studies colleagues and I found ourselves explaining the world’s unpleasant nuclear realities to the media and public.