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  • Author: George Perkovich
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For decades, policy debates in nuclear-armed states and alliances have centered on the question, “How much is enough?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are enough to credibly deter given adversaries? This paper argues that the more urgent question today is, “How much is too much?” What size and type of arsenal, and what doctrine, are too likely to produce humanitarian and environmental catastrophe that would be strategically and legally indefensible? Two international initiatives could help answer this question. One would involve nuclear-armed states, perhaps with others, commissioning suitable scientific experts to conduct new studies on the probable climatic and environmental consequences of nuclear war. Such studies would benefit from recent advances in modeling, data, and computing power. They should explore what changes in numbers, yields, and targets of nuclear weapons would significantly reduce the probability of nuclear winter. If some nuclear arsenals and operational plans are especially likely to threaten the global environment and food supply, nuclear-armed states as well as non-nuclear-weapon states would benefit from actions to physically reduce such risks. The paper suggests possible modalities for international debate on these issues. The second initiative would query all nuclear-armed states whether they plan to adhere to international humanitarian law in deciding if and when to detonate nuclear weapons, and if so, how their arsenals and operational plans affirm their intentions (or not). The United Kingdom and the United States have committed, in the words of the 2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, to “adhere to the law of armed conflict” in any “initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” But other nuclear-armed states have been more reticent, and the practical meaning of such declarations needs to be clarified through international discussion. The two proposed initiatives would help states and civil society experts to better reconcile the (perceived) need for nuclear deterrence with the strategic, legal, and physical imperatives of reducing the probability that a war escalates to catastrophic proportions. The concern is not only for the well-being of belligerent populations, but also for those in nations not involved in the posited conflict. Traditional security studies and the policies of some nuclear-armed states have ignored these imperatives. Accountable deterrents—in terms of international law and human survival—would be those that met the security and moral needs of all nations, not just one or two. These purposes may be too modest for states and activists that prefer the immediate prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons. Conversely, advocates of escalation dominance in the United States and Russia—and perhaps in Pakistan and India—will find the force reductions and doctrinal changes implied by them too demanding. Yet, the positions of both of these polarized groups are unrealistic and/or unacceptable to a plurality of attentive states and experts. To blunt efforts to stifle further analysis and debate of these issues, the appendix of this paper heuristically rebuts leading arguments against accountable deterrents. Middle powers and civil society have successfully put new issues on the global agenda and created political pressure on major powers to change policies. Yet, cooperation from at least one major nuclear power is necessary to achieve the changes in nuclear deterrent postures and policies explored here. In today’s circumstances, China may be the pivotal player. The conclusion suggests ways in which China could extend the traditional restraint in its nuclear force posture and doctrine into a new approach to nuclear arms control and disarmament with the United States and Russia that could win the support of middle powers and international civil society. If the looming breakdown in the global nuclear order is to be averted, and the dangers of nuclear war to be lessened, new ideas and political coalitions need to gain ascendance. The initiatives proposed here intended to stimulate the sort of analysis and debate from which such ideas and coalitions can emerge.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Environment, Nuclear Power, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Russia, China, India, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Angela Kane, Noah Mayhew
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and Peace
  • Abstract: Many consider the Reagan-Gorbachev prin- ciple that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” (Joint Soviet-United States Statement 1985) to be the clarion call for arms control. With this, US and Soviet leaders put words to the fundamental under- standing that arms control was sacrosanct in the context of other, unrelated issues in inter- national security. In 2020, we live in a different reality where arms control by some experts has been reduced to “nuclear identity politics” (Ford 2020) while others claim that it is “practical- ly exhausted” (Yermakov 2020). Disconcert- ing as these sentiments may be, they contain a kernel of truth. Arms control in 2020 is still oriented to realities of the past. But if the arms race spirals into full force, it is humans who will be the losers. Hence, it is unhelp- ful to dismiss arms control as an obsolete manifestation of Cold War nightmares. But it is time for an update to address new global challenges, in particular quickly evolving geo- political realities and emerging technologies. Furthermore, the silos in the debate on arms control need to be overcome.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The political declaration with an annex entitled Advancing Nuclear Disarmament, Securing Our Future was adopted on 25 February 2020 in Berlin by the Foreign Ministers of the fifteen countries associated in the prestigious Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament. They call on all NPT participating countries to discuss and adopt the proposed stepping stones. According to the authors of the declaration, the implementation could contribute to averting the dangerous development of the security situation and to the gradual realization of the generally supported vision of creating a world without nuclear weapons. Due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the 10th NPT Review Conference was postponed indefinitely.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Henry Sokolski
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: In the next decade, it is all too likely that the past success of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in preventing the further spread of nuclear weapons among the world’s nations will be reversed. Three trends make more proliferation likely. First is the decay of nuclear taboos. Second, and arguably worse, is renewed vertical proliferation—the increase in size and sophistication of nuclear arsenals by states that already have them. Third, the technical information to fuel nuclear breakouts and ramp-ups is more available now than in the past. These trends toward increased proliferation are not yet facts. The author describes three steps the international community could take to save the NPT: making further withdrawals from the NPT unattractive; clamping down on the uneconomical stockpiling and civilian use of nuclear weapons materials (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); and giving real meaning to efforts to limit the threats that existing nuclear weapons pose.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Korea, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Tobias Vestner
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: This Geneva Paper shows that ATT states parties generally implement the ATT’s prohibitions set forth in Article 6 through national laws and policies. This paper also demonstrates that exporting states implement the ATT’s obligations regarding export assessment contained in Article 7 in many different ways. While the spectrum of how exporting states parties consider an arms exports’ potential effect on peace and security is very broad, their national frameworks contain similar or nearly identical export criteria on assessing the risk of arms being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Few states parties have national export criteria regarding terrorism, transnational organized crime and gender-based violence. States also consider national criteria other than those specified in Article 7 before authorizing arms exports, including positive consequences of arms exports. Finally, states parties’ national frameworks mostly do not define clear thresholds for denying arms exports. Given this divergence in states party implementation, in addition to a remaining lack of clarity on how states apply the ATT provisions in practice, this paper recommends reinforcing dialogue on ATT implementation. This could lead to better understanding and implementation guidance that strengthens the emergence of common standards and improves the quality of national export assessments. To increase states parties’ knowledge on risks to be avoided, institutionalizing cooperation with human rights bodies and establishing an ATT internal information exchange mechanism is also recommended.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: United Nations, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: GCSP's Senior Programme Advisor and Arms Proliferation Cluster Leader, Marc Finaud, together with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament and the University of London (SOAS), are working on a joint project that aims to provide parliamentarians from around the world with documents and material about arms control and disarmament agreements to help them monitor the actions of their governments.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Disarmament, Data
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amy J. Nelson
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: For decades or longer, policy-makers have sought to use arms control to reduce the uncertainty endemic to the international security environment. Because uncertainty is pervasive in these situations, however, practitioners themselves are naturally vulnerable to its effects. This paper seeks to help policy-makers optimize arms control outcomes by providing improved theory and best practices for goal-setting and strategy selection using the judicious application of decision theoretic concepts. The paper first lays out a suitable role for decision theory in the study and analysis of arms control, arguing that “uncertainty” is a more appropriate concept for description and analysis here than is “risk.” Prior approaches that rely on “risk” have tended to drive the search for arms control best practices, but “risk” requires the use of probability estimates that are frequently not available or not a good indicator of potential outcomes. Second, the paper argues that decision-makers are vulnerable to the effects of missing information and the uncertainty it causes in the run-up to and during arms control negotiations. Consequently, they are subject to biases and resort to the use of security-specific heuristics, including worst-case scenario thinking, limited-theater-of-war thinking, and low-dimension (or non-complex) thinking when setting goals and employing strategies for negotiating arms control agreements. The paper discusses the origins of this uncertainty and the strategies that states could employ as a result of these security-specific heuristics, arguing that they can best be grouped into two types—risk reduction versus uncertainty management. Finally, the paper makes recommendations for optimizing outcomes—for getting efficient negotiations that result in robust, durable agreements, capable of managing uncertainty about security, despite the effects of missing information.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David C. Atkinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Thomas Schelling’s passing last month represents a great loss to many in this community and beyond. He leaves a remarkably rich intellectual legacy. Among his many achievements, Schelling’s influence on the theory and practice of arms control cannot be overstated. He produced his seminal works on the subject—Strategy and Arms Control, published with Morton Halperin in 1961, and Arms and Influence, published in 1966—during his twelve years in residence at the Center for International Affairs (1959–1971). I had the pleasure of spending time with Professor Schelling at his home in Bethesda while researching my book on the history of the Center in 2005. Two things stood out from that conversation then, and perhaps even more so now in retrospect. First, Schelling was deeply committed to policy-relevant research, and his long life of work reflects that fact. Secondly—and relatedly—his work on the efficacy and control of nuclear weapons remains a singular benchmark for research in the field and a profoundly erudite and intelligent guide for today’s policy makers, just as it was for their predecessors some sixty years ago.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victor Gilinsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
  • Abstract: Even before the ink was dry on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in l968, officials in the U.S. State Policy Planning staff had privately warned their superiors that non-weapons member states to the treaty could come within weeks of acquiring a nuclear arsenal by amassing nuclear weapons useable fuels claiming that these were intended for peaceful purposes. The advice was quietly filed away. Six years later, with India’s “peaceful” nuclear explosion, the warning seemed more salient. Still, even after a series of studies pointing out the military risks associated with proliferating civilian nuclear technology, most policy makers believed that the danger was speculative and still, at worst, many years away.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Irene Pavesi
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: This Update provides an overview of the international trade in small arms and light weapons in 2013. The first section of the Update reports on the total values and main categories of small arms1 transferred by top and major exporters and importers. This section also assesses changes in trade patterns from 2012 to 2013. The second section presents the 2016 edition of the Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, whose methodology and sourcing have been revised. As explained below, the Barometer now includes a new source—the Regional Report on Arms Exports, prepared by of the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms (SEESAC).
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Weapons , Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Parker, Marcus Wilson
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: UN member states adopted the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in November 2000.3 UNTOC was supplemented by three protocols that address trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms. The third of these—the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, known as the Firearms Protocol—was adopted on 31 May 2001 by General Assembly Resolution 55/255 and entered into force on 3 July 2005 (UNGA, 2001c). For states that have ratified or otherwise formally expressed their consent to be bound by it, the Firearms Protocol is legally binding.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, United Nations, Weapons , Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eric G. Berman, Kerry Maze
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: The UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA) provides an increasingly critical framework for governments and civil society. Armed groups continue to illegally access and use illegal weapons to mount mass attacks on civilians and terrorize cities and communities, commit human rights violations and banditry, and incite and prolong armed conflicts. Some 60 million people are displaced due to war and insecurity (UNHCR, 2016). Armed attacks and kidnappings directed at humanitarian workers are at record highs. Armed groups are increasingly disregarding international humanitarian law and, as a result, are blocking much needed assistance to populations at risk.1 The vast majority of deaths from armed violence do not occur in conflict settings, however. Of the more than 500,000 lives that are lost annually to armed violence, in some countries small arms––many of them illicit––are used in more than three out of four homicides (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2015).
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, Governance, Weapons , UNDP
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: In September 2015 UN member states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (2000–15) with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. While reaffirming core MDG aims, such as poverty reduction and the promotion of health care and education, these SDGs and targets tackle a much broader range of factors driving underdevelopment, includ- ing violence and insecurity (UNGA, 2015a).
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, United Nations, International Security, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs, Weapons , Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: This iconic line from the 2005 film Lord of War conveys widely held assumptions about international arms traffickers: that they are ambitious, well-connected, globe-trotting entre-preneurs who single-handedly arm criminals and militias throughout the world. The film’s fictional protagonist, Yuri Orlov, is based on five actual arms dealers, including Russian businessman Viktor Bout, whose vast global network of shell companies and unsavoury clients earned him the moniker ‘the Merchant of Death’ (Gilchrist, 2005). The composite image of Bout and his peers has become the archetypal arms trafficker, the image that comes to mind whenever the illicit arms trade is discussed. Yet most arms traffickers bear little resemblance to that image.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Security, Military Strategy, Mass Media, Military Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: N.R. Jenzen-Jones
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Emergent ammunition technologies are likely to prove key in future firearms designs, while many also apply to legacy weapons. Emergent cartridge case technologies, the rise of the ‘general-purpose’ calibre, and other nascent technologies will affect the way in which firearms are designed, produced, managed in service, tactically employed, maintained, and sustained. Many of these technologies are focused on reducing the logistics burden on armed forces and security agencies, and on reducing the carrying load of the individual combatant. While these technologies also apply to medium- and large-calibre ammunition, this Working Paper restricts its focus to small-calibre ammunition—cartridges of up to 14.5 × 114 mm in calibre—which are commonly fired from firearms referred to as small arms and light weapons.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Small Arms Survey
  • Abstract: Since the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations released its seminal report in 2000, UN missions have grown considerably in size and com- plexity. As of November 2015, more than 100,000 uniformed personnel were serving in UN peace operations—a three-fold increase since 2000 and a 50 per cent rise since 2005 (UNDPKO, 2005; UNGA and UNSC, 2015b, p. 20). These troops, military observers, and police officers increasingly operate in large, underdeveloped countries, alongside violent armed groups that show little interest in political compromise and have few compunctions about attacking UN forces (UNGA and UNSC, 2015b, pp. 21–22). Succeeding in these environments requires that peacekeepers be well trained and well armed.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Politics, United Nations, International Security, Military Strategy, Peacekeeping, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Breiterman
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: Generations of students have been taught that the emergence of Parliament and capitalism in England were caused by factors such as the rise of the bourgeoisie, the rediscovery of ancient Greek democracy and the Roman republic, the Magna Carta, the enclosure movement, the Protestant ethic of accumulation (which may not actually apply to England), and English common law. To these factors should be added: a population of extremely well-armed and trained commoners, reliance upon them by the monarchy for military service, and the willingness of the commoners to stage large-scale and ferocious rebellions. It was highly advisable to secure the consent of the commoners before taxing them. The power of the commoners limited what taxation could be imposed. Limited taxation allowed commoners to accumulate substantial sums of money, a crucial factor in the emergence of capitalism in England as early as the 1400s. The power of the commoners forced elites to accommodate the notion of government for the common good (commonweal), eroded the notion that the aristocrat was superior to the commoner, and strengthened the case for equality of opportunity. The history of England stands for the proposition that contemporary firearms laws should be the most permissive reasonably possible. The article also discusses the need to achieve social change without violence. But this is not possible with many regimes worldwide, and it is naive to think tyranny can’t happen here.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Political Theory, Capitalism
  • Political Geography: Global Focus