The Nuclear Tipping Point
September 23, 2009
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and former Senator Sam Nunn
This op-ed written the week of the UN Security Council Meeting that President Obama chaired discusses the challenges of national security and some of the approaches governments and individuals have taken to reduce nuclear risks including the G8 countries. Read the op-ed.
Wicked Weapons: North Asia’s Nuclear Tangle
September 1, 2009
Media attention concentrates on North Korea's threatening nuclear behaviour, and the frustrating quest for disarmament on the Korean Peninsula exposes some of the strategic tensions in the wider region. But uncertainties also surround the nuclear future of China and, in its own way, Japan. The positive steps happening globally on nuclear arms control, led by the United States, need to be handled with great care lest they create new dangers in North Asia. The strategic and nuclear challenges in this region, so critical to world security and prosperity in the 21st century, present a 'wicked problem': one that is complex and close to intractable, because fixing one aspect typically worsens or creates others.
The Obama Transformation: Can it Succeed?
July 1, 2009
President Barack Obama has one of the most comprehensive, progressive and ambitious arms control and disarmament agendas every proposed by a U.S. president… Implementing this agenda, however, will require the president to secure the active cooperation of Russian leaders while overcoming serious domestic resistance to his plans… Overall, it appears that prospects are improving for sustaining and building a bipartisan consensus around the basic elements of the Obama plan. This is due to several factors, including the increase in the nuclear threats, the failure of previous strategies, the development of new policies, and the commitment of the new president and other state leaders to this new approach. The next twelve to eighteen months will determine if these plans can succeed.
Achieving Nuclear Zero: Way Ahead
July 1, 2009
A conference at the Hoover Institution in 2006, convened by George Shultz and Sidney Drell on the 20th anniversary of Reykjavik, considered what it would take to rekindle the vision shared by Reagan and Gorbachev. The participants agreed that a world without nuclear weapons was not only a goal worth pursuing, in itself, but would also invigorate efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons…At the second conference at the Hoover Institution one year later, this time in cooperation with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons was reaffirmed, and specific steps toward that end were elaborated in considerable detail… central to the case for revisiting the idea of a world free of nuclear weapons as an operationally meaningful goal... In contrast to the world reaction in 1986, which was highly skeptical, the reaction in 2006 and thereafter has been remarkably positive.
Next Steps in US-Russian Arms Control
July 1, 2009
The arrival of the Obama administration in the United States, along with several aspects of the world situation, indicates that we are about to see a revitalization of the arms control process in general, and the U.S. Russian arms control process in particular. The relevant circumstances of the world situation are familiar to us all–the expiration of the START Treaty next December, the approaching NPT Review Conference next year, the urgent need to resolve the problems created by the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea, the failure of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to make any progress whatsoever for almost 13 years and the growing realization (especially in the U.S.A, U.K. and elsewhere, and, I hope that includes Russia) that a continuation of the current situation, in which thousands of nuclear weapons are deployed, with thousands more in reserve, is both unnecessary and dangerous.