1641 Items

U.S. President John F. Kennedy, seen here meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1961

Stanley Tretick via National Archives and Records Administration

Journal Article - Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament

Review of The Hegemon’s Tool Kit: US Leadership and the Politics of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime.

| June 13, 2023

Rebecca Davis Gibbons has published several notable articles examining the role of great powers in the global nuclear order over the past few years (e.g. Gibbons 2019, 2020). Her work has included scholarly research on supply-side nuclear restrictions, promotion of nonproliferation agreements and institutions, and interaction with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In her first book, Gibbons puts all of these pieces of the puzzle together. The Hegemon’s Tool Kit offers a broad and elegant theory of international nuclear politics that should be of great interest to readers of this journal.

Senator John F. Kennedy listens to Dr. Alvin Weinberg, Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee in February 1959.

Department of Energy via Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

Where Does Kennedy’s Nuclear Legacy Leave Us 60 Years Later?

| June 10, 2023

It is extraordinarily challenging to re-read President Kennedy’s speech at American University 60 years ago and not feel a profound loss for a historical moment when negotiations on arms control were nascent and seen as an indispensable instrument for peace and stability worldwide.

teaser image

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

A Strategy for Peace

| June 07, 2023

The relevance of Kennedy’s speech to the current U.S.-Russia arms control situation is clear: it calls for a return to diplomacy, open dialogue, and a recognition of shared interests, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. 

teaser image

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

With Kennedy’s Warning Falling on Deaf Ears Today, We May Be Heading for a Nuclear Disaster

| June 07, 2023

The world is likely to continue to live with a nuclear disorder with nuclear arms race and proliferation. Unfortunately, it may take another major nuclear crisis for the world to heed President Kennedy’s warning in his 1963 American University speech.

teaser image

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

Contemporary Steps Toward Genuine Peace

| June 07, 2023

In “A Strategy of Peace,” President Kennedy outlined a gradual evolution toward genuine peace, a dynamic process to bridge the evident divide between the two major nuclear powers of the day. Over fifty years later, President Obama’s address in Prague echoed many of Kennedy’s core themes: the danger posed by the continued existence of nuclear weapons and the need for cooperation in the face of seemingly intractable differences. 

Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director General, met Faizan Mansoor, Chairman, Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority during his official visit to the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 24 March 2023.


Journal Article - International Journal of Nuclear Security

Assessing Nuclear Security Risks in Pakistan

| June 2023

Pakistan’s nuclear program and perceived nuclear security concerns have attracted global attention. The varying concerns range from the potential theft of nuclear weapons or materials to the unauthorized use of a nuclear device to terrorist groups taking control of the Pakistani government. The enduring debate, however, has oscillated between these doomsday scenarios and some optimistic considerations, where various quarters have shared their satisfaction over Pakistan’s nuclear security regime and its ability to deal with the emerging challenges. To address the evolving nature of these threats, Pakistan is constantly improving its nuclear security infrastructure. It has established a comprehensive legislative and institutional structure, nuclear security systems, and has also undertaken various international obligations. To further improve nuclear security perceptions, Pakistan should adopt a more transparent approach and learn from international best practices.

A wide shot of a crowd watching two large video screen with Ukraine President Zelenskyy on them at the Munich Security Conference

AP Photo/Michael Probst

Center Nuclear Experts Highlight Escalating Risks at Munich Security Conference

| Spring 2023

The Project on Managing the Atom co-hosted a side event at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in partnership with the Center for International Security of Berlin’s Hertie School. The event focused on nuclear threats and nuclear deterrence.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested a New Generation Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile Agni P from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha, in Balasore on June 28, 2021.

Press Information Bureau on behalf of Ministry of Defence, Government of India

Analysis & Opinions - Asia Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

25 Years Since South Asia's Nuclear Tests

| May 23, 2023

Ruhee Neog

Assuming that nuclear weapons are going to be around for the foreseeable future, I hope to see more focus on managing India and Pakistan’s growing risk environment, particularly those risks that could increase the probability of nuclear use. For this, I would expect examinations of bilateral (and trilateral, to include China) nuclear dynamics to be contextualised in at least three broader trends. The first is geopolitical. We acknowledge, narrowly, that US nuclear developments have an impact on the Chinese capability build-up; China’s on Indian strategic thinking; and thereon on Pakistan’s nuclear trajectory. What our research lacks is an equal recognition of the role of geopolitics—such as US-China relations and its impact on regional security, or the Russia-Ukraine war—in shaping the nuclear strategies of states like India and Pakistan. The second is demystifying the emerging military applications of technologies and their ramifications for nuclear deterrence, as both India and Pakistan are engaged in multi-faceted technological development. The third broad trend is nuclear nationalism. Keeping an eye on how identity politics interfaces with the two other trends (geopolitics and emerging technologies) will be key to deciphering nuclear risk and assessing the demands of risk absorption in Southern Asia.


Sitara Noor

Since the overt nuclearization in 1998, both India and Pakistan have come a long way in their nuclear learning process. Although heavily influenced by the Cold War experiences of the United States and the former Soviet Union, the nuclear learning process of New Delhi and Islamabad was not linear and carried both positive and negative aspects. Over the past 25 years, both nuclear rivals have gradually increased the number of nuclear weapons, diversified their delivery means, established command and control systems, and consolidated their nuclear policies to a greater extent. Nonetheless, they have largely gone against the contention of nuclear revolution theory that mutual vulnerability created by nuclear weapons will significantly alter the state behaviour leading to more cooperation among states to stabilize deterrence.  Unlike the Cold War model, India and Pakistan have failed to achieve strategic stability or establish some bilateral risk reduction measures. On the contrary, the recent Pulwama/Balakot crisis indicated a higher threshold for risk acceptance by both states.

Going forward, this behaviour indicates a precarious future where any miscalculation may lead to a serious crisis. In the next 25 years, South Asia is likely to witness a competitive nuclear approach that is already manifesting in the form of attempts to acquire nuclear superiority through the development of missile defence system, adoption of counterforce doctrines, the revival of limited nuclear war pursuits as well as the willingness to fight a conventional war under the nuclear overhang.

In the absence of meaningful political dialogue to resolve bilateral issues including Kashmir and alleged terrorism against one another and lack of effective communication channels to reduce the chance of inadvertent war,  the risk of any future crisis escalating to the nuclear level remains high.