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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: Antoine Bondaz
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile crisis is the most serious proliferation crisis the European Union (EU) and its member states currently face on the world stage. Despite the staging of diplomatic meetings, the threat caused by this crisis to European interests, in terms of proliferation, instability and to prosperity, persists. It is now essential that the EU and its member states move from a strategy of critical engagement to implementing a more proactive strategy of credible commitments in four areas: political engagement, non-proliferation, the implementation of restrictive measures and engagement with the North Korean people. Such a renewed strategy should be highly coordinated, build on the many initiatives already being taken and facilitated by the appointment of an EU Special Representative on North Korea.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, European Union, Disarmament, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Tytti Erästö
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The erosion of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement poses a risk for both Middle East regional security and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. At the same time, it highlights the need to build a more sustainable regional foundation for conflict resolution and arms control in the Middle East. This paper argues that the arms control– regional security nexus should be better reflected in European policy. While maintaining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and preventing further US–Iranian escalation should be the European Union’s (EU) first priority, the paper urges the EU to develop a more comprehensive approach in support of regional security, arms control and disarmament in the Middle East. In addition to resolving inconsistencies in current EU policies on regional security, arms control and arms exports to the Middle East, the EU should consider throwing its political weight behind two emerging processes that could provide a much-needed opening for regional cooperation: security dialogue in the Gulf and the annual Middle East weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-free zone conferences at the United Nations. If it involved regional non-proliferation cooperation, the former process could also help manage the negative consequences of the potential collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, European Union, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Elizabeth I-Mi Suh
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This paper maps activities undertaken to educate the next generation of Europeans on non-proliferation and disarmament-related topics with a view to training future scholars and professionals, excluding capacity-building efforts. Most members of the European network of independent non-proliferation and disarmament think tanks conduct informal and formal educational activities, ranging from courses for students to workshops for young professionals, internships, networking events and mentoring programmes. However, the geographic distribution and dominant political science focus of these efforts illustrate the lack of accessibility and multidisciplinarity of non-proliferation and disarmament education currently available in Europe. Treating education as empowerment rather than a one-way process of recruitment can facilitate the introduction of new approaches and tools. Education can tap into existing potential among the next generation, such as intercultural competencies, multilingualism or technical know-how. Forms of participatory learning and autonomous project work place more responsibility on the learner to develop the skills required to deal with tasks.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Education, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Federica Dall'Arche
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Global efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and regulate small arms and light weapons (SALW) have gradually increased over the past four decades but the number of women involved in these efforts remains alarmingly small. Women face enormous obstacles when it comes to their participation in diplomatic negotiations and decision-making processes, and arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament diplomacy is no exception. Women continue to be excluded or marginalized from these procedures and when they do participate it is often in low-level positions from which exerting influence is difficult. Studies have shown that women represent only 32 per cent of all participants in official arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament forums and that heads of delegations, as well as speakers in related events and conferences, are almost exclusively men. This paper investigates the possible causes of this imbalance and shows why a continuing gender disparity among experts and practitioners in the field is problematic. It demonstrates that the inclusion of women has positive effects on the outcome of negotiations and examines why this is the case. Finally, it discusses the ways in which the European Union (EU) in particular, and the international community in general, can increase the number of women involved in the field.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Gender Issues, European Union, Women
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Tapio Juntunen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current discussion on the possible repercussions of the INF crisis have largely concentrated either on great power relations or on the level of NATO-Russia relations and the future of the transatlantic ties. This Working Paper aims to broaden the present discussion by reflecting on the potential implications of the negative trends in nuclear weapons politics and arms control from the perspective of the Nordic region. One of the key concerns for the Nordic countries in this regard is Russia’s significant arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons in the immediate vicinity of the region. The prospect of a looming nuclear weapons buildup in the North Sea areas and around its key locations is also something that the Nordic countries should be concerned about together with their allies and key partners. The Nordic countries should also aim to increase their agency in relation to the stalling nuclear arms control agenda. In addition to supporting the efforts to open up different possibilities to salvage the INF Treaty, the Nordic countries also have self-interest when it comes to integrating other categories of non-strategic nuclear weapons into these discussions. Tapio Juntunen
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Nordic Nations
  • Author: Tom Plant
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the last twenty years, the UK has researched nuclear arms control and disarmament verification in increasing breadth and depth. Although this principally technical activity has not yet been directly linked to any of the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile reductions or postural changes, it does form much of the UK’s recent disarmament diplomacy. This is because more effective techniques for verification of nuclear arms control and disarmament are widely regarded as essential for the multilateral regimes that might be necessary if global nuclear stockpiles are to reduce. Thus, the UK balances its retention of nuclear weapons with plans – or at least the appearance of plans – for future disarmament. This balance stems in part from the degree of internal conflict in the UK about its nuclear weapon status, and the perceived need to take the lead in nuclear disarmament matters, set against decreasing room for manoeuvre in terms of substantive reductions to its declared nuclear arsenal; in the future it is likely to be increasingly central to the UK’s disarmament diplomacy. The degree to which UK verification research is genuinely intended to make a tangible disarmament contribution therefore merits scrutiny. This is particularly true for those states that are also working in the field or are interested in doing so. This paper lays out how Finland and other Nordic states could contribute by encouraging the UK to take more meaningful action, inter alia by linking UK verification research and its modernisation programme to potential arms control futures.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • 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
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Miroslav Tůma in his new Policy Paper titled "The Importance of Verification and Transparency in the Nuclear-Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament Process" explained how monitoring and verification procedure associated with the nuclear-arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament process is nowadays important, especially in the sphere between US and Russia, which posses 90% of nuclear weapons all over the world. The author also analysed the development of the verification procedure in this field and its future curse. Should be the engagement of verification activity in a straight line with international law? What attitude should the Czech Republic take towards this problem in the near future?
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Siemon T. Wezeman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: The security environment of South East Asia is making more and more headlines and is increasing cause for concern. While old tensions and conflicts remain, China’s rise as a military power and its claims on the South China Sea not only add a new element of insecurity but also draw other powers into the mix. As this paper documents, states in South East Asia have significantly increased their military spending, their arms acquisitions and their arms inventories over the past decade. This growth has outpaced the global trend and the trends of most other regions. While the growth of military capabilities is not an uncontrollable arms race, there is cause for real concern. The increased size and capabilities of most armed forces in South East Asia—coupled with increased tensions in the region, especially over the South China Sea—lead to more military forces operating in close proximity to ‘unfriendly’ forces. Mechanisms and agreed rules to deal with the overall tensions or with unexpected confrontations of opposing military forces are lacking, which does not make it easy to prevent incidents from escalating. Furthermore, weak transparency in foreign and defence policy poses a risk of misunderstandings about why South East Asian states acquire weapons, what their ‘red lines’ are and what the response to crossing those lines would be.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Military Affairs, Weapons
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Bruno Hellendorff
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 1 February 2019, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that his country had suspended its compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty, and would withdraw from it within six months. The INF Treaty, little known outside of arms control and disarmament circles, was a landmark Cold War agreement between the United States of America and the USSR – the first to ban an entire category of weapons (ground-based medium- and intermediate-range missiles). The US withdrawal, announced in dramatic terms by President Donald Trump in October 2018, followed the claim that Russia had recently developed and fielded a missile with performances forbidden by the INF Treaty. The end of this little-known treaty is not anecdotal. Not only will it further strain the US-Russia relationship and antagonise allies, it will also contribute to the erosion of what is left of the global arms-control architecture and incentivise arms-race behav- iours among great powers. In a world where security is increasingly less a question of multilateral deliberation and rules-based interactions, the end of the INF Treaty is a further signal that missile technologies are again becoming a venue for competition between great powers: only this time, at least three are playing the game (United States, China and Russia) rather than two (United States and USSR). Additionally, missile technology proliferation has turned into a major dimension of contemporary battlefield realities, and missile programmes of countries such as Iran and North Korea continue to pose important diplomatic and non-proliferation challenges. Meanwhile, Europe is, by and large, left watching as its regional security architecture erodes. Welcome to what US National Security Advisor John Bolton recently termed ‘a multipolar missile world’. The EU should not try to salvage the INF Treaty. Its diplomatic capital might be better spent in areas where it could potentially make a difference, rather than in a treaty to which it is not even party. Existing multilateral regimes and agreements with the EU or its Member States as parties are already in dire need of reinforcement in the face of technological progress, a volatile diplomatic environment and self-centred, competitive political narratives. These include, inter alia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) framework (including its Structured Dialogue), multilateral export control regimes (MECR) like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), transparency and trust-building mechanisms like the Hague Code of Conduct against missile proliferation (HCoC), and nuclear-related frame- works like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or ‘Iran deal’) or the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Process. These, however, may simply fail to meet the challenge of a multipolar missile world. Renewed efforts, both conceptual and in the realm of capabilities, are needed in a NATO framework to reinforce the linkage between deterrence and diplomacy. NATO-EU dialogue and cooperation on defence issues could be further enhanced, and European countries should work more with like-minded partners at both bilat- eral or multilateral levels on the challenges of non-proliferation and disarmament in the twenty-first century. The demise of the INF Treaty should therefore re-energise the debate on European strategic autonomy, help support collective capability building – not least in NATO – and prompt new discussions on stronger multilateral rules on missile development, use and proliferation.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Didier Audenaert
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 2 August both the US and the Russian Federation will no longer be restrained by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (1987). Early this century it gradually became clear that Russia wanted to step out of the Treaty, by which it felt itself to be solely restrained. European nations should now take up a greater share of the burden of missile defence, which should get a broader mission than it has today. The debate on EU strategic autonomy can be an instrument in this endeavour. Because of the worsening security environment NATO’s non- strategic nuclear capability becomes even more important. European NATO allies and EU member states may very soon be confronted with difficult and fundamental choices for a future without the INF Treaty, which need to be communicated and explained to their national population.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Leo Michel, Matti Pesu
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the most notable consequences of the end of the Cold War was the diminished role of nuclear weapons in international relations. The world’s primary nuclear weapon powers, the United States and the Russian Federation, made considerable reductions in their nuclear forces. The climax of the process was the New START Treaty signed in 2010. Now, the optimism that characterized the first decades of the post-Cold War era is rapidly evaporating. Geopolitical competition again dominates global and regional security dynamics. Nuclear powers are modernizing their forces and introducing novel systems that may affect strategic stability. At the same time, existing arms control regimes are crumbling. This report takes stock of recent developments in deterrence in general, and nuclear deterrence in particular. Its main ambition is to understand how deterrence has changed in light of certain post-Cold War trends. To this end, the report introduces the basic principles of deterrence. It also explores the nuclear-related policies and capabilities of the four nuclear weapon states most directly involved in European security affairs – Russia, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Importantly, the report also analyses the implications of the recent trends in strategic deterrence for Northern Europe. This report is part of a research project conducted by the FIIA entitled ‘New Challenges for Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century’. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research 2018.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America
  • 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: Kolja Brockmann, Robert E. Kelley
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM) machines are multipurpose manufacturing instruments that rely on the transfer of build-information in a digital form. AM is a rapidly developing technology with a growing range of applications, especially in the aerospace and defence industry. It is also generating concerns about its potential to create ways of weakening or circumventing dual-use and arms export controls. This SIPRI Paper examines (a) the state of the art in AM; (b) its ability to produce military equipment and dual-use items; (c) the application of export controls to AM and their implementation at the national level; and (d) the challenges that implementation and compliance present for governments, companies and research institutes. The conclusions summarize potential options and considerations when expanding controls on AM. This is one of two research papers that address the closely related issues of controlling transfers of software and technology and applying exports controls to AM. Taken together, the papers examine some of the most challenging issues that governments, companies and research institutes in the European Union (EU) and the wider world are facing when they seek to effectively implement dual-use and arms export controls. The papers also address a range of topics that are under active discussion within the multilateral export control regimes and in connection with the recast of the EU Dual-use Regulation. For the second paper, 'The Challenge of Software and Technology Transfers to Non-proliferation Efforts: Implementing and Complying with Export Controls', see here. Funding for the concept paper was provided by the US Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.
  • Topic: Security, Arms Control and Proliferation, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Disarmament, Exports
  • Political Geography: Europe, 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: Assaf Orion, Amos Yadlin
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: At the strategic level, the convergence in time and space of the events following the chemical weapons attack in Duma by the Syrian regime portend a dramatic development with substantial potential impact for Israel’s security environment. The attack on the T4 airbase, attributed to Israel, falls within the context of the last red line that Israel drew, whereby it cannot accept Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The attack in Duma reflects the Syrian regime’s considerable self-confidence at this time. As for Trump, the attack provides him with another opportunity to demonstrate his insistence on the red lines that he drew and take a determined stance opposite Putin. Thus, Israel’s enforcement of its red line and the United States’ enforcement of its red line have met, while Russia finds itself exerting efforts to deter both countries from taking further action that could undermine its achievements in Syria and its positioning as the dominant world power in the theater. However, the strategic convergence does not stop at Syria’s borders, and is unfolding against the backdrop of the crisis emerging around the Trump administration’s demands to improve the JCPOA, or run the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions and the US exiting the agreement. Indeed, the context is even wider, with preparations for Trump’s meeting with North Korean President Kim on the nuclear issue in the far background. Therefore, the clash between Israel and Iran in Syria on the eve of deliberations on the nuclear deal could potentially lead to a change from separate approaches to distinct issues to a broader and more comprehensive framework with interfaces and linkages between the issues.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Asia, North Korea, Syria, North America