Articles

51 Items

A detail of the video board at the UN showing the votes in favor, against and the abstention after a vote to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer).

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

Addressing the Nuclear Ban Treaty

| Apr. 16, 2019

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a bedrock of international security, had the 50-year anniversary of its signing in 2018. While the existence of the treaty has not been able to prevent a handful of states from seeking nuclear weapons, for half a century the NPT has promoted norms of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Only nine states possess nuclear weapons today, far below the number predicted early in the nuclear age. Nonetheless, a second nuclear treaty, adopted in 2017, represents a significant and growing crack in the foundation of the NPT and suggests that relations among its members need to change if the treaty is going to survive another 50 years.

Trump Salute

Le Point

Magazine Article - Le Point

Burns : « Il renie soixante-dix and de diplomatie » (Burns: "He rejects seventy years of diplomacy")

| Feb. 02, 2017

In an interview with Amin Arefi of French magazine Le Point, Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns reflects on the first ten days of the Trump administration and the trajectory of American foreign policy going forward. Burns explains the fundamental differences between Donald Trump and George W. Bush, and the  worrying implications of Trump's indifference towards the US-backed system of alliances that has upheld the liberal world order for the past seven decades.   

U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev hold a press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Finland on September 9, 1990.

George Bush Library

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion

| Spring 2016

During the 1990 German reunification negotiations, did the United States promise the Soviet Union that it would not expand NATO into Eastern Europe? Although no written agreement exists, archival materials reveal that U.S. officials did indeed offer the Soviets informal non-expansion assurances, while keeping open the possibility of expansion and seeking to maximize U.S. power in post–Cold War Europe.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the international press corps during a news conference that followed a NATO Ministerial meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on December 3, 2013.

State Department photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Myth of Entangling Alliances: Reassessing the Security Risks of U.S. Defense Pacts

| Spring 2015

How often do alliance commitments draw the United States into military conflicts that it might otherwise avoid? An analysis of U.S. conflicts over the past several decades reveals that the number is significantly smaller than many observers assume.

Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in Europe (Czech Republic and Poland)

DoD Image

Journal Article - Arms Control Today

Missile Defense Against Iran Without Threatening Russia

| November 2013

"Although the cancellation of the planned deployment of the SM-3 IIB interceptors has removed the possibility that interceptors deployed under the phased adaptive approach would pose a threat to Russian missiles, it has not diminished the missile defense system's primary mission of intercepting an array of current and potential future Iranian missiles. The restructured missile defense system would still theoretically be able to handle these Iranian missile threats, even if one factors in a comfortable amount of time for detecting and tracking them."

The newly renovated United Nations Security Council Chambers, also known as the Norwegian Room, is seen before the reopening ceremony, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at U.N. headquarters.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Permanence of Inconsistency: Libya, the Security Council, and the Responsibility to Protect

    Author:
  • Aidan Hehir
| Summer 2013

Many observers heralded the Security Council–sanctioned intervention in Libya in March 2011 as evidence of the efficacy of the responsibility to protect (R2P). Although there is no doubt that the intervention was significant, the implications of Resolution 1973 are not as profound as some have claimed. The intervention certainly coheres with the spirit of R2P, but it is possible to situate it in the context of a trajectory of Security Council responses to large-scale intrastate crises that predate the emergence of R2P. This trajectory is a function of the decisionmaking of the five permanent members of the Security Council (P5), a group guided by politics and pragmatism rather than principles. As a consequence, the Security Council’s record in dealing with intrastate crises is characterized by a preponderance of inertia punctuated by aberrant flashes of resolve and timely action impelled by the occasional coincidence of interests and humanitarian need, rather than an adherence to either law or norms. The underlying factors that contributed to this record of inconsistency—primarily the P5’s veto power—remain post-Libya, and thus the international response to intrastate crises likely will continue to be inconsistent.

Tuareg militants, seen driving near Timbuktu, Mali, on May 7, 2012, share control of northern Mali with Islamist groups and al-Qaeda fighters. The Tuaregs militants fled to Mali after Qaddafi's defeat and launched a rebellion there.

Magharebia Photo CC

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

A Model Humanitarian Intervention? Reassessing NATO's Libya Campaign

| Summer 2013

NATO's 2011 humanitarian military intervention in Libya has been hailed as a model for implementing the emerging norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P), on grounds that it prevented an impending bloodbath in Benghazi and facilitated the ouster of Libya's oppressive ruler, Muammar al-Qaddafi, who had targeted peaceful civil protesters. Before the international community embraces such conclusions, however, a more rigorous assessment of the net humanitarian impact of NATO intervention in Libya is warranted.

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Journal Article - Johns Hopkins University Press Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs

Nebulous NATO: A Quest for Relevance

| Spring 2013

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is considered the most successful military alliance in history, and yet, its future is clouded in uncertainty. With the end of the Cold War, followed by the breakup of the Soviet Union, NATO has suffered from a structural problem that has become more acute over time—the absence of a clearly defined existential threat to Europe. This makes for a dubious raison d’être. If NATO’s future was ambiguous immediately following the Cold War, it is disquieting to consider its role in an environment of draconian defense cuts, fiscal woes in the United States, a Europe-wide financial crisis, and a U.S. military shift toward the Pacific.