International Security & Defense

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Analysis & Opinions

In Russia’s Nuclear Messaging to West and Ukraine, Putin Plays Both Bad and Good Cop

| Dec. 23, 2022

Should a nuclear war “never be unleashed?” Can nuclear weapons be used to “ensure the safety of the Russian people?” Both, according to President Vladimir Putin, who has become fond of alternating assertive and conciliatory tones in his messaging on the conditions for the use of nuclear arms. Such discourse comes as he tries to coerce Ukraine into accepting his land grabs and prevent the West from escalating assistance to Kyiv, all while keeping China content.

North Korea launches a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile reported to be a Hwasong-17, its largest-known ICBM, on May 25, 2022.

Image via YTN & YTN plus

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Poll: Americans, Japanese, and South Koreans Don't Support Using Nuclear Weapons Against North Korea

| Oct. 25, 2022

For months, evidence has accumulated that North Korea may be preparing its seventh nuclear explosive test. Continuous warnings by analysts and the media about this possibility are a sobering reminder that Pyongyang's continued pursuit of a larger nuclear arsenal remains a challenge for the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the nonproliferation regime. This continues to be the case even as the public and leaders around the world have largely shifted their attention to the nuclear dimensions of the war in Ukraine.

INF inspection of Pershing II missiles in 1989

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Science

Beyond Nuclear Deterrence

| Oct. 14, 2022

In October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union squared off in what game theorist and Nobel laureate Thomas Schelling described as a nuclear game of “chicken” that threatened humanity’s survival. The Cuban Missile Crisis spurred six decades of efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and inspired a generation of scientists to think critically about reducing atomic risks. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent nuclear threats during the war in Ukraine are an unambiguous reminder that such dangers have outlived the Cold War. A new wave of scientific research is urgently needed to understand conditions for making global nuclear disarmament desirable and feasible.

A screen shows U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken addresses the 2022 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference, in the United Nations General Assembly

AP/Yuki Iwamura

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

| Sep. 05, 2022

Joseph Nye writes that Russian aggression and nuclear saber rattling have reminded us that the likelihood of nuclear war is a matter of both independent and interdependent probabilities. Paradoxically, reducing the probability of an all-out catastrophe requires that we learn to accept a certain degree of risk and uncertainty.

A type 094A Jin-class nuclear submarine Long March 10 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China's PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, April 23, 2019.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Then What? Assessing the Military Implications of Chinese Control of Taiwan

| Summer 2022

An analysis of Taiwan’s military value concludes that its reunification with China would improve Chinese submarine warfare and ocean surveillance capabilities, tipping the military balance in China’s favor. These findings have important implications for U.S. operational planning, policy, and grand strategy.