Articles

244 Items

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, fly with a Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) F-2 fighter jet over the East China Sea, July 7.

USAF / Japan Air Self-Defense Force

Magazine Article - Arms Control Today

A Grim Vision of Nuclear War

| December 2018

Framed as a future U.S. governmental attempt to understand and summarize the devastation wrought in a calamitous resumption of the Korean War, Lewis populates the novel with today’s political leaders in an environment shaped by recent events. In this review, Andrew Facini writes thatThe 2020 Commission Report is a realistic and compelling drama written to bring this grim subject back into the popular conversation.

The atomic cloud over Hiroshima, taken from the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945 (U.S. government/Wikimedia).

U.S. government/Wikimedia

Journal Article - The Journal of Strategic Studies

How Durable is the Nuclear Weapons Taboo?

| Nov. 09, 2018

The nuclear weapons taboo is considered one of the strongest norms in international politics. A prohibition against using nuclear weapons has seemingly shaped state behavior for nearly seven decades and, according to some observers, made nuclear use ‘unthinkable’ today or in the future. Although scholars have shown that nuclear aversion has affected decision-making behavior, important questions about the nuclear taboo remain unanswered. This article seeks to answer a basic question: How durable is the taboo? We develop different predictions about norm durability depending on whether the taboo is based primarily on moral logic or strategic logic. We use the comparable case of the norm against strategic bombing in the 20th century to evaluate these hypotheses. The logic and evidence presented in this paper suggest that the norm of nuclear non-use is much more fragile than most analysts understand.

Protesters demand the deployment of nuclear weapons in South Korea, near the presidential Blue House in Seoul

AP

Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

South Korea's Nuclear Hedging?

| Spring 2018

"The credibility of the United States' nuclear umbrella has been questioned time and again by its allies in Europe and Asia since the dawn of the nuclear era. Skepticism toward U.S. extended deterrence to the Republic of Korea (ROK) is particularly high amid their strained relationship in light of political leadership changes in Washington and Seoul as well as North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear capabilities. A growing sense of abandonment among South Koreans raises the concern that Seoul may go nuclear. However, pursuing nuclear weapons is not likely given the enormous security and economic costs."

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Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

China’s Nuclear Modernization: Assuring a Second-Strike Capability

| Feb. 11, 2018

Some experts are increasingly concerned that China’s modernization will lead to a Chinese nuclear “breakout”—a pursuit of a nuclear-warfighting capability or a “sprint to parity” with the United States. David Logan (“Hard Constraints on a Chinese Nuclear Breakout,” Vol. 24, Nos. 1–2, 2017, pp. 13–30) rightly suggests that such a nuclear breakout would be constrained not only by China’s “soft” nuclear policy but also by “hard” technical constraints. I would emphasize that it is the former that has been the first principle guiding China’s nuclear-force development. That some of the “hard” technical constrains have resulted from this “soft” guidance demonstrates China’s commitment to a small deterrent force. It is difficult to imagine that the future development of China’s nuclear force would eventually overthrow these first principles. In fact, there is no evidence that China will change its long-standing nuclear policy.

Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

New Ways to Detect Nuclear Misbehavior

| Jan. 08, 2018

If we had the technology to detect nuclear materials remotely it could help deter smuggling and make it easier to monitor international nuclear agreements. Several recent breakthroughs, if followed up with continued research and funding, could deliver on this promise. They include technological advances in x-ray and neutron radiography; a method that measures how plasma breaks down when exposed to a radioactive source; and developments in antineutrino detection. While all require more development and testing, they are important steps as the global need for ways to detect nuclear materials grows.

In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, a man in Seoul, South Korea watches a TV news program showing an image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File

Newspaper Article - The New York Times

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Dec. 28, 2017

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un trading threats with words like “fire and fury”; Pakistan deploying tactical nuclear weapons to counter Indian conventional threats; Russia enunciating an Orwellian doctrine of “escalate-to-de-escalate” that calls for early use of battlefield nuclear weapons; and major nuclear-weapons states modernizing their arsenals — nukes are back. The cruel irony: This is happening after eight years of a president who won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

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Journal Article - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The future of US–Russian nuclear deterrence and arms control

| June 19, 2017

During the latter part of the Cold War, many strategists thought of nuclear deterrence and arms control as two of the most essential stabilizing elements of the same strategy in managing an adversarial relationship. The renewed crisis between the West (the United States and NATO member states) and Russia demonstrates how critical these elements are to the strategic nuclear relationship. As a result of recent setbacks between Washington and Moscow in the past few years, arms control has taken a back seat, and the risk of conflict due to miscalculation is the highest it has been since the 1980s.

Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States

AP/Andy Wong

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Would China Go Nuclear? Assessing the Risk of Chinese Nuclear Escalation in a Conventional War with the United States

    Author:
  • Caitlin Talmadge
| Spring 2017

Would China escalate to nuclear use in a conventional war with the United States? If China believed that U.S. conventional attacks on missiles, submarines, air defenses, and command and control systems threatened the survivability of its nuclear forces or that the United States was preparing a counterforce attack, it might engage in limited nuclear escalation to gain military advantage or coerce the United States. The United States will face difficult trade-offs in deciding how best to manage the risk of nuclear escalation.