Nuclear Issues

3491 Items

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.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

AP/Richard Drew

Analysis & Opinions - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Saudi Arabia Isn't Cuddly; Neither Is Iran

| Nov. 08, 2018

Chuck Freilich writes that while the international community has recently been consumed by the gruesome murder of a Saudi journalist, nothing really has changed. The Saudi regime has long been the most heinous on earth, but the overarching strategic considerations that have militated for ongoing cooperation with it continue to do so. The Iranian regime is no more attractive than the Saudi one, and its pursuit of regional hegemony and nuclear weapons make it the far greater danger. Iran must remain the primary focus of Israel's attention.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin provide an update on the Trump administration's Iran policy at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., on November 5, 2018 (State Department via Flickr).

State Department via Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Not very SWIFT

| Nov. 06, 2018

Not only would sanctioning SWIFT be a major escalation in U.S. sanctions policy, but an entirely reckless decision. Realistically, enforcing sanctions against SWIFT would have significant consequences for both the U.S. and global financial system—upending decades of international norms.

A stack of Iranian rials and a stack of Euros (Ivar Husevåg Døskeland via Flickr/Creative Commons).

Ivar Husevåg Døskeland via Flickr/Creative Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

International Anti-Money Laundering Reforms and Iran

| Nov. 06, 2018

Although it remains to be seen whether or not the Iran nuclear deal is salvageable, there are few incentives left for Iran to implement anti-money laundering reforms. For better or worse, the Financial Action Task Force and the future of the JCPOA have become politically intertwined as a consequence of US unilateral sanctions.

Satellite Imagery facilities at the IAEA Department of Safeguards, March 2015.

Dean Calma/IAEA via Flickr

Paper - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

Future Directions in IAEA Safeguards

| November 2018

The IAEA safeguards system faces serious challenges, writes John Carlson in a new Managing the Atom Discussion Paper. The IAEA must not only contend with increasing tensions among the major powers and the growing salience of nuclear weapons, it must also confront a series of specific safeguards controversies.

Visitors walk across the Yalu River Broken Bridge, right, next to the Friendship Bridge connecting China and North Korea in Dandong in northeastern China's Liaoning province.

(AP Photo/Emily Wang)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Conflict and Chaos on the Korean Peninsula: Can China’s Military Help Secure North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons?

    Author:
  • Oriana Skylar Mastro
| Fall 2018

China’s military could play a vital role in securing or destroying Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons if the North Korean regime collapsed.

Image of China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force drill with a ballistic missile launcher

(China Military / 81.cn)

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Inadvertent Escalation and the Entanglement of Nuclear Command-and-Control Capabilities

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Oct. 29, 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation between the U.S. and China or Russia are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems. What can be done to reduce this risk?

A man holds a sign that reads "Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty"prior to a press conference during the Helsinki Summit with Trump and Putin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

A Better Way to Confront Russia's Nuclear Menace

| Oct. 28, 2018

Ongoing Russian violations of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty need to be effectively addressed because they defy a longstanding bilateral agreement and directly threaten our NATO allies. However, the Trump administration’s move to pull out of the treaty is misguided; instead, we should launch a major initiative to strengthen strategic stability between the United States and Russia, writes Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.