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.
Authors: Eliot A. Cohen, Eric S. Edelman, and Ray Takeyh
The nuclear deal that the United States and five other great powers signed with Iran in July 2015 is the final product of a decadelong effort at arms control. That effort included sanctions in an attempt to impede Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons capability.
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.
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.
Beginning on March 31, 2016, over fifty world leaders join President Barack Obama in Washington for the fourth and likely final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) offers resources on the global challenge of securing nuclear materials.
A frank conversation between China and the United States about the future of the Korean peninsula could pave the way for greater cooperation to stymie North Korean nuclear ambitions, writes CFR’s Scott Snyder.
Testifying before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adjunct Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia Daniel S. Markey discussed the ramifications of a potential civil nuclear agreement with Pakistan. He concluded that pursuing a nuclear deal with Pakistan at this time is unrealistic, poorly timed, and unwise.
Remember the Iran nuclear deal, source of so much anxiety just one month ago? While much of the world watched in horror at the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, Iran began dismantling its centrifuges. But short-term compliance with the deal isn’t as important as what happens when it expires in 10 years.
Since defecting from Six Party negotiations on denuclearization in 2008, North Korea has pursued nuclear development unchecked by international constraints. Scott A. Snyder outlines steps the United States should take to lead coordinated multilateral action opposing North Korea’s nuclear status, while still leaving a denuclearized North Korea a route for regime survival.
Recent developments—Russian aggression in Ukraine, China’s expanding territorial claims, and the need to modernize the US nuclear arsenal—have caused scholars to revisit a labyrinthine world of nuclear strategy largely neglected since the end of the Cold War. But this new wave of theory has resurrected some dubious arguments.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference after the P5+1 and Iran negotiations concluded on August 14, 2015. He discussed how the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action addresses Iran's pathways to building a nuclear weapon.