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  • Author: David Nusbaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Nuclear research reactors are used in many countries for many different purposes. Most of the reactors are used for research (mainly in physics), training for nuclear operators and engineers, materials testing in radiation conditions, or the production of radioiso¬topes for medicine and industry. Some countries, like Iran, are building new reactors ostensibly to fill these needs. Many of these reactors operate with highly enriched uranium (HEU) nuclear fuel — in most cases, enriched to around 90 percent, the same as fuel for nuclear weapons. The production and fabrication of HEU fuel, and the handling, transport, and storage of both fresh and spent fuel containing HEU entails considerable proliferation, security, and safety risks as well as very high costs. The global stockpile of highly enriched uranium was about 1500 tons in 2012, which was enough for more than 60,000 simple, first gen¬eration implosion weapons. About 98 percent of this material is held by the nuclear weapon states, with the largest HEU stockpiles in Russia and the United States.
  • Topic: Security, Education, Energy Policy, Health, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran
  • Author: Andrei A. Kokoshin
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In this discussion paper Andrei Kokoshin, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and sixth secretary of the Russian Security Council, offers a concise discussion of the essence of the most dangerous nuclear crisis in the history of humankind.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Cold War, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Nuno P. Monteiro
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, the United States has been the world's sole great power. It maintains a military that is one order of magnitude more powerful than any other; defense spending close to half of global military expenditures; a blue-water navy superior to all others combined; a chance at a splendid nuclear first strike over its erstwhile foe, Russia; a defense research and development budget that is 80 percent of the total defense expenditures of its most obvious future competitor, China; and unmatched global power-projection capabilities. The post-Cold War international system is thus unipolar.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: James K. Sebenius, Michael K. Singh
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since assuming the presidency of the United States in January 2009, Barack Obama has tried both outreach and sanctions in an effort to halt Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapons capability. Yet neither President Obama's personal diplomacy nor several rounds of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council-China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States-plus Germany (the "P5 1") nor escalating sanctions have deterred Tehran. Iran has not only continued but accelerated its nuclear progress, accumulating sufficient low-enriched uranium that, if further enriched, would be sufficient for five nuclear weapons. Consequently, as Iran makes major advances in its nuclear capabilities, speculation has increased that Israel or a United States-led coalition may be nearing the decision to conduct a military strike to disable Iran's nuclear program.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, France
  • Author: Dominic Tierney, Dominic D.P. Johnson
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar halted his army on the banks of the Rubicon River in northern Italy. According to Suetonius, he paused in momentary hesitation, before sweeping across the waters toward Rome with the immortal phrase Alae iacta est (The die has been cast). By violating an ancient Roman law forbidding any general to cross the Rubicon with an army, Caesar's decision made war inevitable. Ever since, “crossing the Rubicon” has come to symbolize a point of no return, when the time for deliberation is over and action is at hand.
  • Topic: International Relations, Intelligence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Germany, Romania
  • Author: Michael S. Gerson
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Despite heightened expectations for significant change in U.S. nuclear policy—especially declaratory policy— the Obama administration's Nuclear Posture Review changes little from the past. The NPR's declaratory policy retains the option for the United States to use nuclear weapons first in a variety of circumstances, including in a first strike against Chinese, North Korean, Russian, and (perhaps) future Iranian nuclear forces. Equally important, the United States can threaten the first use of nuclear weapons to deter and, if necessary, respond, to a variety of nonnuclear contingencies, including large-scale conventional aggression by another nuclear power such as China or Russia and chemical or biological weapons (CBW) attacks from states such as Iran and North Korea.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, North Korea
  • Author: Deborah Welch Larson, Alexei Shevchenko
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, scholars and foreign policy analysts have debated the type of world order that the United States should strive to create—a hegemonic system, a multilateral institutional system, or a great power concert. Initially, a major issue was whether attempts to maintain U.S. primacy would stimulate counter - balancing from other states. But since the 2003 Iraq War, a new consideration has emerged—how to persuade other states to cooperate with U.S. global governance. States that do not oppose efforts by the United States to maintain stability may nonetheless decline to follow its leadership. This is a matter for concern because although the United States can act alone, it cannot succeed on such issues as controlling terrorism, curbing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), rebuilding failed states, or maintaining economic stability without help from other states.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq
  • Author: Ruud Kempener
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Over the past decade, the six BRIMCS countries— Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa—have become important global players in political and economic domains. In 2007, they were collectively responsible for a third of the world's energy consumption, driven by China's growing energy use. Despite their increasing significance in the world's energy sector, very little systematic analysis of their energy investments, innovation institutions, and energy innovation policies has taken place. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is one of the few agencies that have been collecting data on ERD investments, but none of the BRIMCS countries are members.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Michael Mousseau
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Democracy does not cause peace among nations. An analysis of conflicts from 1961 to 2001 shows that the absence of war between democratic countries depends on domestic economic factors-such as a contract-intensive economy-rather than on democracy. Because China and Russia lack this type of economy, an economic divide will define great power politics in the coming decade. Democratic leaders of nations with contract-intensive economies would do better to support global economic opportunity than to promote democracy abroad.
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Elizabeth A. Stanley
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Throughout history, shifts in governing coalitions have critically affected war termination. For example, the execution of the Athenian democratic ruler Cleophon and the ascendancy of the pro-Spartan oligarchs in B.C. 404 led to Athens' surrender to Sparta and ended the twenty-seven-year Second Peloponnesian War. Similarly, the death of Russian Empress Elizabeth in January 1762 led her Prussophile successor, Peter III, to immediately recall Russian armies that were occupying Berlin and conclude the Treaty of Saint Petersburg by May—ending the fighting between Russia and Prussia in the Seven Years' War. During World War I, riots in Germany ushered in a new government that then negotiated the final war armistice, as Kaiser Wilhelm II fied to Holland. Likewise, during World War II, France and Italy surrendered shortly after changes in their governing coalitions, in 1940 and 1943, respectively. Most recently, on his first full day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama summoned senior officials to the White House to begin fulfilling his campaign promise to pull combat forces out of the war in Iraq.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iraq, France, Germany, Korea, Prussia