U.S. NUCLEAR ISSUES
September 6, 2015
By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In his first visit to the United States since assuming the throne, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud met with US President Barack Obama to discuss various regional issues, foremost among them Iran’s destabilizing regional activities and the aftermath of the recent nuclear deal. The Saudi monarch was assured that the agreement prevents Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon through a robust inspections regime, and that there is a provision for a snapback of sanctions should the agreement be violated. But more broadly, the outcome of the meeting highlights and emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to counter and negate Iran’s influence in certain Arab countries.
September 2, 2015
Op-Ed, The Hill
By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
Intelligent men and women of good will are lining up on both sides of the fateful choice Congress faces in September: whether to approve or reject the nuclear deal with Iran. Part of what’s going on is an unfortunate mixing together of two quite different questions, one looking backward and one looking forward. First, should the Obama administration and other major powers have gotten a better deal? Second, given the deal the negotiators did produce, whatever its warts, is it better for U.S. and world security to accept it or reject it and try to force Iran to agree to a better one?
August 20, 2015
Op-Ed, The Washington Post, Monkey Cage Blog
By Mark Bell, Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom
"Each nuclear state has behaved somewhat differently with nuclear weapons. However, history suggests that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it would be less universally emboldened than the pessimists fear, but nor would it find nuclear weapons to be useless."
August 20, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Shai Feldman, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Ariel Levite, Visiting Scholar, Project on Managing the Atom
The other night we had a dream. We dreamed that the negotiations with Iran had produced a comprehensive agreement that not only credibly contained the country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons forever but also effectively checked its regional ambitions.
August 5, 2015
Op-Ed, The National Interest
By Albert Carnesale, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are understandably frustrated. While they urge the U.S. Congress to reject the agreement negotiated by the United States, UK, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran, and endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council, they have been unable to identify a plausible alternative that would better serve the national security interests of the United States and our allies and friends. What alternatives, whether feasible or not, have been offered, and how do they compare to endorsing the pact that is currently being considered by Congress?
August 3, 2015
Op-Ed, Washington Examiner
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Two flashes, one in Hiroshima and the other in Nagasaki, extinguished the lives of 200,000 people, made equally large by the amount of suffering resulting from the consequences that the blast and radiation generated. This was also the start of the nuclear armament race, first between the United States and the then-Soviet Union, soon followed by the United Kingdom, France and China.
The two Cold War adversaries and environment the Cold War generated held the nuclear aspirations of the allies at bay. The warning by President Kennedy of a nightmare scenario of several dozen states gaining nuclear weapons in the coming age unless steps were taken did not materialize. Security guarantees by the U.S. and Soviet Union to their allies, access to peaceful nuclear technology and the conclusion of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in 1968 were medicines to curb nuclear proliferation.
Journal Article, issue 1, volume 40
By Francis Gavin, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
Most histories of post-1945 U.S. grand strategy focus on containment of the Soviet Union and U.S. efforts to promote political and economic liberalization. A closer look reveals that "strategies of inhibition"—attempts to control nuclear proliferation—have been a third central pillar of U.S. grand strategy for several decades.
"Keeping the Bombs in the Basement: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy toward Israel, South Africa, and Pakistan"
Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 40
Many accounts suggest that the United States did little to prevent Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa from developing nuclear weapons. These accounts are flawed, however. The United States did attempt to stop all three countries from acquiring the bomb and, when those efforts failed, to halt additional proliferation measures such as further testing and weaponization.
July 27, 2015
Op-Ed, Just Security
By Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
With most commentary being focused on analyzing the technical requirement of the US and west’s agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program, it’s also crucial to take on early the broader ramifications of the deal on Middle East stability. These observations are framed by four quotations from an op-ed piece published by Henry Kissinger and George Schultz in the Wall Street Journal in April 2015.
I believe the wise statesmen’s advice can help guide the formulation of US strategic objectives that should be pursued following the nuclear deal with Iran. Kissinger and Schultz suggest four over-arching tasks to take on as first order of business in tying broader US policy initiatives into the agreement.
July 24, 2015
Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal
By Niall Ferguson, Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In making the case for his nuclear-arms-control deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Obama has confronted Congress with a stark choice. "There really are only two alternatives here," he declared at last week's press conference. "Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it's resolved through force, through war."
This binary argument is so central to his administration's case that the president provided a second formulation: Without the deal, he said, "we risk even more war in the Middle East, and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world."