Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

News Release

U.S. Should Sharpen Strategy and Enlist China to Counter Threat from North Korea, Says CFR Task Force

A new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force report, A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asia, finds that the United States’ policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea will neither halt that country’s recurring and dangerous cycle of provocation nor ensure the stability of Northeast Asia in the future. To the contrary, the Task Force warns, “If allowed to continue, current trends will predictably, progressively, and gravely threaten U.S. national security interests and those of its allies.” 

See more in North Korea; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Sanctions

Op-Ed

How to Deal With North Korea

Authors: Mike Mullen and Sam Nunn
Washington Post

North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and missile programs, including its recent nuclear test, pose a grave and expanding threat to security, stability and peace in Asia and the rest of the world. This threat affects close U.S. allies — South Korea and Japan — and U.S. personnel and facilities in the region. In the coming months and years, it will create increasing danger for the United States.

See more in North Korea; China; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Op-Ed

North Korea Nuclear Ambition Lives in the Gap Between U.S. and China–So Close It

Author: Scott A. Snyder
The Guardian

Because North Korea thrives in the gap created by Sino-U.S. strategic mistrust and the most dangerous threat to the Kim Jong-un regime’s legitimacy comes from South Korea, the most effective way of conveying to him that his regime’s survival depends on denuclearization would be through coordination of a trilateral strategy among the United States, China, and South Korea., writes CFR Senior Fellow Scott Snyder.

See more in North Korea; United States; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Politics and Strategy

Article

The Costs of an American ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Doctrine

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

The desire to leave an enduring legacy can inspire presidents to do great things — also foolish ones. That Barack Obama is considering a change in strategic doctrine, declaring that the U.S. would never use nuclear weapons first, is the subject of op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, of agreat video explainer in The Wall Street Journal, of countless news articles, and of cabinet-level controversy.

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Article

The Unsung Success of Nuclear Nonproliferation

Author: Philip H. Gordon
Nikkei Asian Review

When U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump mused about the possibility of Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia developing their own nuclear weapons, it was probably not his intention to highlight the success of the nuclear nonproliferation regime or the policy of President Barack Obama's administration.

See more in United States; Asia and Pacific; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Elections

Op-Ed

Donald Trump vs. Barack Obama on Nuclear Weapons in East Asia

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Donald Trump broke a lot of foreign-policy crockery last week. President Barack Obama dressed him down for encouraging South Korea and Japan to acquire nuclear weapons. NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, has criticized him too. Academics trying to parse Mr. Trump’s statements can’t figure out which “school” of foreign-policy thinking he belongs to. (So far, my favorite scholarly comment has been: “There is no indication that Trump understands the workings of balance of power theory…” Of course, there is no indication that Mr. Trump cares about the workings of any theories—and no real danger that he subscribes to them.)

See more in United States; Elections; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament

Primary Sources

Nuclear Security Summit Statements

On April 5, 2009, President Obama gave a speech in Prague, calling nuclear terrorism "the most immediate and extreme threat to global security," and hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC in April 2010. Additional summits took place in Seoul in 2012, in the Hague in 2014, and the final session in Washington in 2016. The summit aims to secure nuclear material and encourage collaboration between countries to eliminate nuclear weapons. Additional documents are available on the State Department website. Countries report on their progress in securing their nuclear materials.

See more in Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; United States; Global