Asia & the Pacific

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In this photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, Russian troops load an Iskander missile as part of drills to train the military for using tactical nuclear weapons at an undisclosed location in Russia

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Journal Article - International Security

When Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Adversary Perceptions of Nuclear No-First-Use Pledges

| Spring 2024

Would the world be safer if the United States pledged to never use nuclear weapons first? Supporters say a credible pledge would strengthen crisis stability, decrease hostility, and bolster nonproliferation and arms control. But reactions to no-first-use pledges by the Soviet Union, China, and India suggest that adversaries perceive pledges as credible only when the political relationship between a state and its adversary is already relatively benign, or when the state’s military has no ability to engage in nuclear first use against the adversary. 

Analysis & Opinions

Kyrgyzstan in Crisis: A Geopolitical Juncture

Kyrgyzstan is currently at a critical geopolitical juncture in which it is forced to
confront its longstanding ties with Russia against a backdrop of internal and external
pressures towards autocracy. Once celebrated as the ‘island of democracy’ in Central
Asia, the small nation faces significant challenges in light of internal authoritarian
tendencies and external pressure following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in
February 2022. This report, therefore, examines the role of Kyrgyzstan within the
global democracy versus autocracy debate that has intensified in the past two years
and assesses President Japarov’s neutrality with regards to Russia’s invasion and
Bishkek’s shifting allegiances.

This report relies on a qualitative methodology that builds on field research conducted
in Kyrgyzstan in August 2023. As such, this report incorporates interviews with
Kyrgyz civil society organizations and other stakeholders working on issues
including, but not limited to, democratization, corruption, human rights, media, and
the rule of law. The report presents an in-depth analysis of the Russian influence with
regards to the Kyrgyz political system, civil society, and strategic relationship with
Moscow, underpinned by the historical context of Kyrgyz-Russian relations.

the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Groups steam in formation, in the South China Sea

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton/U.S. Navy via AP

Analysis & Opinions - TIME Magazine

Is America in Decline?

| Apr. 17, 2024

Joseph Nye argues that episodes of "declinism" say more about popular psychology than geo-political analysis, but they also show how the idea of decline touches a raw nerve in American politics. China is not an existential threat to the United States unless U.S. leaders make it one by blundering into a major war.

two hands reaching to shake in front of U.S. and North Korean flags.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Report

Negotiating with North Korea: Key Lessons Learned from Negotiators' Genesis Period

| March 2024

Only a small handful of people in the world have sat at the negotiating table with the North Koreans and extensively interacted with them. Yet, this knowledge is fragmented and has not been collected or analyzed in a systematic manner. This report captures the findings from in-depth, one-on-one interviews with former senior negotiators from the United States and South Korea, who gained unique knowledge about North Korean negotiating behavior by dealing directly with their high-level North Korean counterparts. 

These negotiators collectively represent a body of negotiation experience and expertise starting from the early 1990s to late 2019, when North Korea ceased all negotiations with the United States. During that time, the conditions for productive negotiation changed dramatically – indeed, the conditions for the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework negotiations were much more favorable than during the Six-Party Talks of the mid-2000s or the Season of Summits during 2018-2019. For the “Negotiating with North Korea: Key Lessons Learned from Negotiators’ Genesis Period” project, a spotlight was placed on former senior negotiators’ early-stage experience preparing for and engaging in negotiations with the North Koreans. In doing so, tacit knowledge was captured to serve as a resource for future negotiators to inform and accelerate their own genesis period.