PONI Debates the Issues Blog

All Posts (86)

As the State Department noted, Tuesday marked the twentieth anniversary of the Trilateral Statement between Ukraine, Russia, and the United States on the issue of leftover Soviet nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The agreement created a plan – completed successfully in 2001 – to export or destroy the remaining nuclear warheads, delivery vehicles, and fissile material in the country in exchange for security guarantees…

Read more…

PONI Research Intern - Accepting Applications

The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is seeking a research intern to support its effort to develop the next generation of leaders in nuclear science and policy. 

The research intern’s primary responsibilities will consist of supporting PONI staff in coordinating and organizing events; providing research support for PONI staff, including director Clark Murdock; authoring posts for the PONI Debates the Issues blog;…

Read more…

Uranium enrichment is a tricky subject, both chemically and politically.  A key portion of the Iran negotiations rests on what autonomy Tehran will maintain to enrich uranium for its domestic nuclear program. The United States and several allied countries in the P5+1 (not to mention Israel) would prefer that Iran dismantle its entire enrichment infrastructure, agree to permanent, intrusive inspections, and rely on international sources of enriched fuel if it maintains any nuclear energy…

Read more…

Are the Senkakus the United States’ Munich?

Brinksmanship is a game of escalation measured in moves and counter moves. You push your adversary to the edge and hope he folds. If he doesn't, push harder. As the eminent game theorist and Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling would say, you allow circumstances to grow increasingly out of hand. Eventually someone gives in – either before the shooting starts or after.…

Read more…

By Daria Azarjew

 

         It is increasingly evident that China’s military power and capabilities are continuing to grow and improve. Historically, China has declared that the primary purpose of its military arsenal has been to serve defensive ends; however Beijing’s recent behavior suggests that China’s strategy may be changing.

         China’s self-defensive military strategy, as articulated in previous…

Read more…

Among those who viewed negotiations with Iran positively, the opportunities to double down on the Geneva breakthrough elsewhere may seem irresistible. Geoffrey Cain, writing in Salon, weighed whether the United States would be able to “ride the momentum” of the Geneva negotiations to successfully refocus international pressure on North Korea. …

Read more…

Around 3 A.M. on Sunday morning in Geneva, Iran and the P5+1 agreed to an interim deal to restrict Tehran’s nuclear program. In short, the arrangement caps uranium enrichment at 5%, stops buildup of low-enriched uranium, freezes the progress of the “plutonium track” Arak reactor, “neutralizes” the current stocks of 20%-enriched uranium, and allows for “unprecedented” transparency and monitoring. These restrictions come in exchange for reversible – and minimal – financial sanctions relief,…

Read more…

By Kyle Deming

Last week, the BBC published a lengthy piece speculating that Saudi Arabia is in the process of acquiring a nuclear weapon from Pakistan.  Based on recent anonymous reports within NATO intelligence, analysis of satellite-photographed Saudi missile sites, and a helping of Cold War-era circumstantial evidence, the article claims that Riyadh has warheads “on order,” paid for and…

Read more…

 By Nicolas Giacometti

   Last month, Chritopher Preble and Matt Fay, respectively PhD student at Temple University and Vice-President for defence and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, published an article entitled “To Save the Submarines, Eliminate ICBMs and Bombers”. They argued that the extra $60 billion needed for the development of the…

Read more…

Zero is an Imaginary Number

By Daria Azarjew

     The international security environment has undoubtedly undergone a dynamic transformation since the United States emerged victoriously from the Cold War. Nuclear weapons no longer play the same role as they did during the duel of the two superpowers. Considering the brink of destruction which the U.S.-Soviet nuclear deadlock threatened the world with, the current movement for a “global zero” is understandable. While the merits of attaining a world…

Read more…

Sanctions: A Counter-Proliferation Tool

By Daniel Campos

The United States has sanctioned Iran over its illicit nuclear program for the last 17 years. The 2010 sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations have been the most debilitating sanctions ever imposed on a state. As a result of these sanctions, Iran’s economy has stopped growing, and its currency has lost over 50% of its value.  These…

Read more…

By Daria Azarjew

      The nature of U.S. and NATO’s relations with Russia has been incredibly tumultuous from the start, considering the Alliance’s original purpose as a security instrument to counter the Soviet threat. Once the Cold War ended and the “Russian Bear” no longer posed a direct threat to the alliance, the two entities were finally able to turn over a new leaf, formally launching a relationship in 1997, consisting of a forum for mutual dialog and…

Read more…

The third conference of the 2013 PONI Series will be held on December 17-18 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Hosted in CSIS’s brand-new building, the event will feature presentations by rising professionals in the field as well as keynote addresses by nuclear experts. It will also include an evening reception and dinner for participants at the conclusion of day one (December 17). The conference program,…

Read more…

By Kyle Deming

Over the last three weeks, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s offers to come to the table for a nonproliferation deal have been met with mixed reactions across the international political spectrum. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry applauded the initiative, remarking that it would be “diplomatic malpractice” not to give talks a chance and that the “…

Read more…

By Kyle Deming

Another year has come and gone without U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was opened for signature at the September 1996 United Nations General Assembly in New York. Despite signing the treaty, the United States has never ratified it; the CTBT failed a Senate vote at the end of the Clinton presidency, went ignored for the length of the Bush…

Read more…

By: Daria Azarjew

     The last decade has seen North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT, Iran’s refusal to comply with IAEA inspections, and most recently, Syria’s violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. While both the United States and the international community have tried to address these violations of international norms, the one conclusion that can be drawn is that the United States does not have a workable grand strategy for dealing with weapons of mass…

Read more…

Join the Conversation!

Add your comment to start the conversation! PONI is also happy to publish posts from guest bloggers. Email us with an idea!  

Subscribe to the PONI Debates the Issues Blog RSS Feed.

Looking for an Old Post?

PONI Debates the Issues blog posts from before September 2013 are available in the archive.  

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of the Center for Strategic and International Studies or the Project on Nuclear Issues. The content of this web site does not constitute an endorsement by or opinion of the Department of Defense or any sponsor of the Project on Nuclear Issues.