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  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Daryl G. Kimball, Kingston Reif
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: Upon taking office, the new presidential administration of Joseph Biden will confront a dizzying array of major challenges, not the least of which are related to the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Tensions between the world’s nuclear-armed states are rising; the risk of nuclear use is growing; billions of dollars are being spent to replace and upgrade nuclear weapons; and key agreements that have kept nuclear competition in check are gone or are in serious jeopardy. The situation has been complicated by the neglect and poor policy choices of President Donald Trump and his administration. Over the past four years the Trump administration made nearly every nuclear policy challenge facing the United States worse. Fortunately, Biden has a long and distinguished track record when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons-related security issues. Unlike his predecessor, Biden possesses a strong personal commitment to effective nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament that dates back to his early days in the Senate and continued through his last days as vice-president under President Barack Obama. In this analysis we have outlined what we believe to be the five most important sets of nuclear weapons policy challenges and decisions that the new Biden administration will need to address in its first 100 days and beyond, along with recommendations for effectively dealing with each of these policy challenges: Reviving and Advancing the Nuclear Arms Control Enterprise Reducing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Excess Stabilizing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Jump-starting Denuclearization and Peace Diplomacy with North Korea Restoring U.S. Leadership on Multilateral Nonproliferation and Disarmament If pursued, these actions and decisions would make the United States and the world safer from the threats posed by nuclear weapons. These initial steps would also put the administration in a better position to pursue more lasting and far-reaching nuclear risk reduction and elimination initiatives over the next four years.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Peace, Denuclearization, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: United States, Global Focus
  • Author: Jyri Lavikainen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Non-compliance and disputes between Russia and the US resulted in the US exiting the Open Skies Treaty. If Russia withdraws in response, European countries will lose an important source of intelligence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Intelligence, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Elizabeth N. Saunders
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: When and how do domestic politics influence a state's nuclear choices? Recent scholarship on nuclear security develops many domestic-political explanations for different nuclear decisions. These explanations are partly the result of two welcome trends: first, scholars have expanded the nuclear timeline, examining state behavior before and after nuclear proliferation; and second, scholars have moved beyond blunt distinctions between democracies and autocracies to more fine-grained understandings of domestic constraints. But without linkages between them, new domestic-political findings could be dismissed as a laundry list of factors that do not explain significant variation in nuclear decisions. This review essay assesses recent research on domestic politics and nuclear security, and develops a framework that illuminates when and how domestic-political mechanisms are likely to affect nuclear choices. In contrast to most previous domestic arguments, many of the newer domestic-political mechanisms posited in the literature are in some way top-down; that is, they show leaders deliberately maintaining or loosening control over nuclear choices. Two dimensions govern the extent and nature of domestic-political influence on nuclear choices: the degree of threat uncertainty and the costs and benefits to leaders of expanding the circle of domestic actors involved in a nuclear decision. The framework developed in this review essay helps make sense of several cases explored in the recent nuclear security literature. It also has implications for understanding when and how domestic-political arguments might diverge from the predictions of security-based analyses.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Domestic politics, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iran, North Korea
  • Author: Kingston Reif, Alicia Sanders-Zakre
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: In a little-noticed comment before his controversial July 2018 summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, U.S. President Donald Trump characterized his government’s multi-hundred billion dollar plans to replace the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal as “a very, very bad policy.” He seemed to express some hope that Russia and the United States, which together possess over 90 percent of the planet’s nuclear warheads, could chart a different path and avert renewed military and nuclear competition. The Helsinki meeting, however, did not produce any agreement on nuclear weapons and Trump has so far shown little interest in a different nuclear spending path. Quite the opposite, in fact.“We have far more money than anybody else by far,” Trump said last October. “We’ll build [the U.S. nuclear arsenal] up until” other nuclear-armed states such as Russia and China “come to their senses.” Citing a deteriorating international security environment, the Trump administration is pursuing a significant expansion of the role and capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In addition to continuing full speed ahead with its predecessor’s plans to replace the nuclear triad and its associated warheads on largely a like-for-like basis, the administration is proposing to broaden the circumstances under which the United States would consider the first use of nuclear weapons, develop two new sea-based, lowyield nuclear options, and lay the groundwork to grow the size of the arsenal. At the same time, key U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control agreements, which serve to regulate the nuclear balance and prevent unconstrained nuclear competition, are now in serious doubt. The Trump administration has announced the United States will leave the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in August 2019 unless Russia returns to compliance with the pact, and expressed hostility towards extending the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). New START expires in 2021 but can be extended by up to five years subject to the agreement of Washington and Moscow. In short, the Trump administration is preparing to compete in a new nuclear arms race while simultaneously increasing the likelihood of such a contest. The projected cost of the proposed nuclear spending spree is staggering and it is growing. The United States currently plans to spend nearly $500 billion, after including the effects of inflation, to maintain and replace its nuclear arsenal over the next decade, according to a January 2019 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. This is an increase of nearly $100 billion, or about 23 percent, above the already enormous projected cost as of the end of the Obama administration. Over the next 30 years, the price tag is likely to top $1.5 trillion and could even approach $2 trillion. These big nuclear bills are coming due as the Defense Department is seeking to replace large portions of its conventional forces and internal and external fiscal pressures are likely to limit the growth of—and perhaps reduce—military spending. “We’re going to have enormous pressure on reducing the debt which means that defense spending—I’d like to tell you it’s going to keep going up—[but] I’m not terribly optimistic,” Alan Shaffer, deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said in February 2019. This report outlines the ways in which the Trump administration’s nuclear strategy is unnecessary, unsustainable, and unsafe. It describes three realistic options to reduce spending on nuclear weapons while still maintaining a devastating nuclear deterrent. Scores of billions of dollars could be saved or redirected to higher priorities by eliminating, delaying, or scaling back the administration’s proposals for new delivery systems, warheads, and infrastructure.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nonproliferation, Denuclearization, Arms Race
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Richard Sokolsky, Frederic M. Wehrey
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For over three decades, the question of who controls the Persian Gulf has formed the basis for America’s massive military buildup in the region. At the heart of the region’s security dilemma is a clash of visions: Iran seeks the departure of U.S. forces so it can exert what it sees as its rightful authority over the region, while the Gulf Arab states want the United States to balance Iranian power. Resolving this impasse will not be easy. But the Iranian nuclear agreement presents an opportunity to take a first step toward creating a new security order in the Gulf, one that could improve relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states and facilitate a lessening of the U.S. military commitment. Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/10/14/imagining-new-security-order-in-persian-gulf/ij3p
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: United States, Persian Gulf
  • Author: Armand de Mestral
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Investor-state arbitration (ISA), also known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), by which a foreign investor is entitled to sue a state for damages resulting from the alleged violation of an applicable bilateral investment treaty or an investment chapter in a regional trade agreement, has come under scrutiny in many parts of the world. But in no countries has it been subject to greater scrutiny and challenge than in developed democracies. First in Canada and the United States as a result of the adoption of NAFTA Chapter 11, subsequently in the European Union as a result of the adoption of the International Energy Charter, and latterly in other countries such as Australia, critics have alleged that ISA grants an undue privilege to foreign investors whose complaints should be heard by domestic courts instead of panels of international arbitrators. Availability of ISA is in fact worldwide, due to a network of more than 3,200 investment treaties; criticisms have been voiced in different parts of the world and various proposals for change have been made. The criticisms in developed democracies have become sufficiently strong for it to be necessary to raise the question of whether recourse to ISA is appropriate in any form in developed democracies. Armand de Mestral’s paper is the first in the Investor-State Arbitration project. The series of papers will be prepared by leading experts from a number of developed democracies. Each will review the experience of ISA within specific jurisdictions, with a view to understanding the debates that have occurred in each one. The focus of the debate is on developed democracies, but the implications for the whole international community are very much in mind.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Foreign Direct Investment, Democracy
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Kelsey Davenport, Daryl G. Kimball
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Arms Control Association
  • Abstract: The P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) have finalized a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran that will verifiably block Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons development--the uranium-enrichment route and the plutonium-separation route--and guard against a clandestine weapons program. We assess that the final agreement will be a net-plus for nonproliferation and will enhance U.S. and regional security. This two-page Iran Nuclear Policy Brief examines the key provisions and benefits of a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Uranium
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It now seems unlikely that the P5+1 countries of the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany can reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran by the end of November. A final agreement remains a possibility, but it seems far more likely that if an agreement is not reached, the negotiations will be extended rather than abandoned all together. The question then arises as to how to judge the outcome of this set of negotiations, be it an actual agreement, an extension, or the collapse of the negotiations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Iran, France, Germany
  • Author: Francesco Duina
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: While NAFTA itself does not contain any provisions for governance transfer, its two side agreements (NAALC, NAAEC) prescribe standards in the realm of human rights (labor, environment), the rule of law, and good governance and create a number of instruments for their (indirect) promotion. Through technical assistance, fora for dialogue and exchange, monitoring, and complaints procedures that can result in monetary sanctions, the side agreements aim at promoting the effective enforcement of national law rather than regional standards. These provisions reflect the same concerns in the United States and Canada that lead to the conclusion of the two side agreements in the first place: creating conditions for fair competition in light of Mexico's failure to effectively enforce national laws, resulting in de facto lower labor and environmental standards and thus lower costs compared to the northern neighbours. Beyond formal governance transfer, NAFTA has had an impact on domestic governance reforms in Mexico since the early 1990s as it was used as leverage in both international negotiations and Mexican domestic politics.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Mohammed El-Katiri
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: For the United States, the Arabian Gulf region remains one of the most geostrategically important locations in the world. Home to over half of the world's oil reserves and nearly a third of its natural gas, the Gulf states continue to supply world markets with an important share of their energy supplies. Continuing to be one of the world's largest regional suppliers of energy and holding much of the world's spare capacity in crude oil production makes the region central to the stability of the global oil market.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia