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  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, policy debates in nuclear-armed states and alliances have centered on the question, “How much is enough?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are enough to credibly deter given adversaries? This paper argues that the more urgent question today is, “How much is too much?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are too likely to produce humanitarian and environmental catastrophe that would be strategically and legally indefensible? Two international initiatives could help answer this question. One would involve nuclear-armed states, perhaps with others, commissioning suitable scientific experts to conduct new studies on the probable climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war. Such studies would benefit from recent advances in modeling, data, and computing power. They should explore what changes in numbers, yields, and targets of nuclear weapons would significantly reduce the probability of nuclear winter. If some nuclear arsenals and operational plans are especially likely to threaten the global environment and food supply, nuclear-armed states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states would benefit from actions to physically reduce such risks. The paper suggests possible modalities for international debate on these issues. The second initiative would query all nuclear-armed states whether they plan to adhere to international humanitarian law in deciding if and when to detonate nuclear weapons, and if so, how their arsenals and operational plans affirm their intentions (or not). The United Kingdom and the United States have committed, in the words of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, to “adhere to the law of armed conflict” in any “initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” But other nuclear-armed states have been more reticent, and the practical meaning of such declarations needs to be clarified through international discussion. The two proposed initiatives would help states and civil society experts to better reconcile the (perceived) need for nuclear deterrence with the strategic, legal, and physical imperatives of reducing the probability that a war escalates to catastrophic proportions. The concern is not only for the well-being of belligerent populations, but also for those in nations not involved in the posited conflict. Traditional security studies and the policies of some nuclear-armed states have ignored these imperatives. Accountable deterrents—in terms of international law and human survival—would be those that met the security and moral needs of all nations, not just one or two. These purposes may be too modest for states and activists that prefer the immediate prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. Conversely, advocates of escalation dominance in the United States and Russia—and perhaps in Pakistan and India—will find the force reductions and doctrinal changes implied by them too demanding. Yet, the positions of both of these polarized groups are unrealistic and/or unacceptable to a plurality of attentive states and experts. To blunt efforts to stifle further analysis and debate of these issues, the appendix of this paper heuristically rebuts leading arguments against accountable deterrents. Middle powers and civil society have successfully put new issues on the global agenda and created political pressure on major powers to change policies. Yet, cooperation from at least one major nuclear power is necessary to achieve the changes in nuclear deterrent postures and policies explored here. In today’s circumstances, China may be the pivotal player. The conclusion suggests ways in which China could extend the traditional restraint in its nuclear force posture and doctrine into a new approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament with the United States and Russia that could win the support of middle powers and international civil society. If the looming breakdown in the global nuclear order is to be averted, and the dangers of nuclear war to be lessened, new ideas and political coalitions need to gain ascendance. The initiatives proposed here intended to stimulate the sort of analysis and debate from which such ideas and coalitions can emerge.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Environment, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In the next decade, it is all too likely that the past success of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons among the world’s nations will be reversed. Three trends make more proliferation likely. First is the decay of nuclear taboos. Second, and arguably worse, is renewed vertical proliferation—the increase in size and sophistication of nuclear arsenals by states that already have them. Third, the technical information to fuel nuclear breakouts and ramp-ups is more available now than in the past. These trends toward increased proliferation are not yet facts. The author describes three steps the international community could take to save the NPT: making further withdrawals from the NPT unattractive; clamping down on the uneconomical stockpiling and civilian use of nuclear weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); and giving real meaning to efforts to limit the threats that existing nuclear weapons pose.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Tapio Juntunen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current discussion on the possible repercussions of the INF crisis have largely concentrated either on great power relations or on the level of NATO-Russia relations and the future of the transatlantic ties. This Working Paper aims to broaden the present discussion by reflecting on the potential implications of the negative trends in nuclear weapons politics and arms control from the perspective of the Nordic region. One of the key concerns for the Nordic countries in this regard is Russia’s significant arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the immediate vicinity of the region. The prospect of a looming nuclear weapons buildup in the North Sea areas and around its key locations is also something that the Nordic countries should be concerned about together with their allies and key partners. The Nordic countries should also aim to increase their agency in relation to the stalling nuclear arms control agenda. In addition to supporting the efforts to open up different possibilities to salvage the INF Treaty, the Nordic countries also have self-interest when it comes to integrating other categories of non-strategic nuclear weapons into these discussions. Tapio Juntunen
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Nordic Nations
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Miroslav Tůma in his new Policy Paper titled "The Importance of Verification and Transparency in the Nuclear-Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Process" explained how monitoring and verification procedure associated with the nuclear-arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament process is nowadays important, especially in the sphere between US and Russia, which posses 90% of nuclear weapons all over the world. The author also analysed the development of the verification procedure in this field and its future curse. Should be the engagement of verification activity in a straight line with international law? What attitude should the Czech Republic take towards this problem in the near future?
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Didier Audenaert
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 2 August both the US and the Russian Federation will no longer be restrained by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (1987). Early this century it gradually became clear that Russia wanted to step out of the Treaty, by which it felt itself to be solely restrained. European nations should now take up a greater share of the burden of missile defence, which should get a broader mission than it has today. The debate on EU strategic autonomy can be an instrument in this endeavour. Because of the worsening security environment NATO’s non- strategic nuclear capability becomes even more important. European NATO allies and EU member states may very soon be confronted with difficult and fundamental choices for a future without the INF Treaty, which need to be communicated and explained to their national population.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Leo Michel, Matti Pesu
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the most notable consequences of the end of the Cold War was the diminished role of nuclear weapons in international relations. The world’s primary nuclear weapon powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, made considerable reductions in their nuclear forces. The climax of the process was the New START Treaty signed in 2010. Now, the optimism that characterized the first decades of the post-Cold War era is rapidly evaporating. Geopolitical competition again dominates global and regional security dynamics. Nuclear powers are modernizing their forces and introducing novel systems that may affect strategic stability. At the same time, existing arms control regimes are crumbling. This report takes stock of recent developments in deterrence in general, and nuclear deterrence in particular. Its main ambition is to understand how deterrence has changed in light of certain post-Cold War trends. To this end, the report introduces the basic principles of deterrence. It also explores the nuclear-related policies and capabilities of the four nuclear weapon states most directly involved in European security affairs – Russia, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Importantly, the report also analyses the implications of the recent trends in strategic deterrence for Northern Europe. This report is part of a research project conducted by the FIIA entitled ‘New Challenges for Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century’. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America
  • Author: Assaf Orion, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: At the strategic level, the convergence in time and space of the events following the chemical weapons attack in Duma by the Syrian regime portend a dramatic development with substantial potential impact for Israel’s security environment. The attack on the T4 airbase, attributed to Israel, falls within the context of the last red line that Israel drew, whereby it cannot accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The attack in Duma reflects the Syrian regime’s considerable self-confidence at this time. As for Trump, the attack provides him with another opportunity to demonstrate his insistence on the red lines that he drew and take a determined stance opposite Putin. Thus, Israel’s enforcement of its red line and the United States’ enforcement of its red line have met, while Russia finds itself exerting efforts to deter both countries from taking further action that could undermine its achievements in Syria and its positioning as the dominant world power in the theater. However, the strategic convergence does not stop at Syria’s borders, and is unfolding against the backdrop of the crisis emerging around the Trump administration’s demands to improve the JCPOA, or run the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions and the US exiting the agreement. Indeed, the context is even wider, with preparations for Trump’s meeting with North Korean President Kim on the nuclear issue in the far background. Therefore, the clash between Israel and Iran in Syria on the eve of deliberations on the nuclear deal could potentially lead to a change from separate approaches to distinct issues to a broader and more comprehensive framework with interfaces and linkages between the issues.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North Korea, Syria, North America
  • Author: Corentin Brustlein
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The instruments of cooperative security created during and since the Cold War to foster mutual confidence and reduce the risks of war, inadvertent escalation, and arms races, in and around Europe, have come under increasing strain. The European security architecture has been – and is being – weakened by renewed geopolitical competition, technological and military developments, and states violating or bypassing international law, or walking away from previous commitments. Against this backdrop, it is crucial to reassess the meaning and requirements of crisis and strategic stability in Europe. This report looks at some current and future sources of strategic instability, and focuses in particular on how the Russian way of waging modern conflict could, through the importance given to strategic ambiguity and operational opacity, fuel escalatory dynamics in Europe. It argues that strengthening strategic stability in Europe requires a two-pronged approach, combining a sustained effort to reinforce deterrence and defense in Europe with new confidence- and security-building and arms control measures to reduce reciprocal fears, incentives to escalate rapidly during a crisis, and risks of conventional and nuclear war in Europe.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Nikolai Sokov
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  • Abstract: US-Russian nuclear arms control has remained deadlocked since the conclusion of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2010. The absence of progress hasn’t, however, been a major concern in either country. Although the United States could benefit from additional reductions as it considers the wholesale replacement of its strategic delivery vehicles, that interest appears rather marginal. Russia, already in the midst of its own delivery-vehicle replacement program, seems even less interested.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sandro Knezović
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: A few months ago, the newspapers in Southeast Europe reported extensively on an arms race in the region, sparked by Croatian attempts to acquire the US artillery system M270 MLRS and Serbia’s reaction to that event. Of�icials in Belgrade found the aforementioned move assertive and, by way of response, announced the procurement of Russian-made S-300 within the wider programme of rearming with Russian military equipment. Those who wanted to dig more deeply into trying to �ind evidence for a developing arms race cited the fact that Serbia, on the occasion of the visit of Russian President Putin, had organised a military parade to commemorate the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi occupation. That was followed by Croatia’s military parade on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the military-police operation ‘Storm’. The display of military strength, they concluded, was another sign of growing military rivalry between the two states which had the capacity to dramatically destabilise the fragile peace in the region. Those with more detailed knowledge of the region remind us that neither Croatia nor Serbia - especially the latter - had the political, economic or human capacity to engage in a military con�lict, especially given the existing international presence and strategic set-up in the region. Numerous experts rightfully pointed to the prevailing low level of cross-border political dialogue and the fact that political elites in the region had frequently used populist rhetoric to fuel the support of their electorate, focusing less on the real substance of the dispute with the neighbour. Lastly, but certainly not of least importance, was the fact that, both countries, together with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, had taken on international obligations to safeguard a stable military balance, thus preventing any potential escalations and destabilisation in the region. The so-called 1996 Florence Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control, derived from Article IV of the Dayton Peace Agreement, set the basic framework for negotiations on the limitation of arms. The Amendments to that agreement, signed at the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel (December 2014), imposed full responsibility on signatory states for regional stability and arms control.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy, Populism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina