March 20, 2014
By Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School and Gary Samore, Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
President Obama will travel to The Netherlands this weekend for the third Nuclear Security Summit to be held on March 24-25, 2014. Belfer Center nuclear experts Graham Allison and Gary Samore review in a short Q&A why the Summit is important and what it hopes to achieve.
March 17, 2014
Op-Ed, Nuclear Security Matters
By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
"Many of the international diplomats preparing for the nuclear security summit in The Hague are more used to discussing disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy – known as the “three pillars” of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the foundation of the global nonproliferation regime – than they are to discussing the security measures for protecting nuclear weapons, materials, or facilities. Some have argued that the summit should turn from an exclusive focus on nuclear security to discuss next steps on the three pillars."
February 13, 2014
Op-Ed, Express Tribune
By Afreen Siddiqi, Visting Scholar, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
"Crop production in the heartlands of Pakistan — served by a massive network of canals — now increasingly relies on energy consuming groundwater pumps to meet irrigation needs. A million tube wells are reportedly installed in Punjab alone, and energy use in pumping and farm operations may account for up to one-fifth of the province's energy consumption."
November 29, 2013
Op-Ed, Washington Post
By Robert D. Blackwill, International Council Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Media reports of intense disagreements within the Obama administration with respect to policy toward Syria should come as no surprise. For decades, Washington policymakers and pundits have debated the right balance between America’s democratic values and its national interests.
November 12, 2013
Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor
By Marisa L. Porges, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2012–2014
At the request of Afghan officials, Pakistan has reportedly released almost 40 Taliban combatants, supposedly to help spur peace negotiations. But experience shows this is wishful thinking. These prisoner releases give the Taliban something they want, while providing nothing in return.
October 23, 2013
Magazine or Newspaper Article, The Huffington Post
Ronak Desai, an Associate with the India and South Asia Program, reflects on the state of U.S.-Pakistan relations and its prospects for the future.
October 3, 2013
At 6:00 PM on October 3, 2013, George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies and
Director of the Nuclear Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, gave the 2013 Robert McNamara Lecture on War and Peace, titled "Preventing Nuclear War in South Asia: Unprecedented Challenges, Unprecedented Solutions."
Assessing the risk of nuclear attack-by-proxy turns on the question of whether a state could sponsor nuclear terrorism and remain anonymous. A leader could rationalize such an attack—and entrust terrorists with a vitally important mission—only if doing so allowed the sponsor to avoid retaliation. After all, if a leader did not care about retaliation, he or she would likely conduct a nuclear strike directly. Giving nuclear weapons to terrorists makes sense only if there is a high likelihood of remaining anonymous after the attack.
By Eugene B. Kogan, Director, American Secretaries of State Project
This paper studies under what conditions the U.S. can coerce its allies to forgo nuclear weapons. Specifically, why did Taiwan and South Korea give up their nuclear pursuits under American duress, while Israel and Pakistan attained a nuclear capability?
Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 38
Many experts consider nuclear terrorism the single greatest threat to U.S. security. The fear that a state might transfer nuclear materials to terrorists was a core justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and, more recently, for a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The logical basis for this concern is sound: if a state could orchestrate an anonymous nuclear terror attack, it could destroy an enemy yet avoid retaliation. But how likely is it that the perpetrators of nuclear terrorism could remain anonymous? Data culled from a decade of terrorist incidents reveal that attribution is very likely after high-casualty terror attacks. Attribution rates are even higher for attacks on the U.S. homeland or the territory of a major U.S. ally—97 percent for incidents in which ten or more people were killed. Moreover, tracing a terrorist group that used a nuclear weapon to its state sponsor would not be difficult, because few countries sponsor terror; few terror groups have multiple sponsors; and only one country that sponsors terrorism, Pakistan, has nuclear weapons or enough material to manufacture them. If leaders understand these facts, they will be as reluctant to give weapons to terrorists as they are to use them directly; both actions would invite devastating retaliation.