NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Hiroshima museum watch Hiroshima, Museum of Peace Memorial Park, Watch. Stopped on August 6, 1945 at 8:15. CREDIT: Zigomar

Sixty-five years ago today, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

And today, for the first time, representatives from the U.S., the UK, and France will attend Hiroshima's annual memorial ceremony. Ban Ki-Moon will also attend, the first UN secretary-general to do so. (The world's nuclear powers have been formally invited since 1998. India and Pakistan attended that year, followed by Russia in 2000, China in 2008, and Israel in 2009.)

This is no isolated symbolic gesture. It seems part of a genuine, multinational movement towards nuclear disarmament.

President Obama led the way with his 2009 Prague speech, where he outlined his long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. In April 2010, he signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and hosted a 47-nation summit that pledged to stop militant groups from acquiring fissile materials.

As we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we should also keep in mind that there are an estimated 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, 22,000 of them belonging to the U.S. and Russia. This is the equivalent of about 150,000 Hiroshima bombs.

John Isaacs, one of our featured speakers, reminds us that although nuclear weapons have receded from the public consciousness, they remain one of the greatest dangers we face.  Today of all days, let us not forget.


 

GETTING TO ZERO: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

After START--What Next? David Speedie Interviews Jayantha Dhanapala
Jayantha Dhanapala, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
Jayantha Dhanapala, former Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs at the UN, reviews the state of play on arms control today, including the role of non-state actors, Russia, the UN, and the increasing number of nuclear-weapon-free zones around the world.  (U.S. Global Engagement Program, May 2010. Video, audio transcript)


OBAMA AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Prospects for Arms Control in the Obama Administration
John Isaacs, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
There are an estimated 23,000 nuclear weapons on the planet. Although they have faded from the public consciousness somewhat, they remain one of the greatest dangers we face. Obama has provided an opportunity for unprecedented progress on this issue. Will he succeed? (U.S. Global Engagement Program, December 2009. Video, audio, transcript)

See also this accompanying interview with John Isaacs on Arms Control
(U.S. Global Engagement Program, December 2009. Video, audio, transcript)

Hunting the Hare
David C. Speedie, Carnegie Council
"He that hunts two hares will catch neither," runs an old proverb. In the current unruly security environment, with challenges aplenty for the Obama administration, the hare to be pursued remains the reduction of the global nuclear threat, says David Speedie. (U.S. Global Engagement Program article, October 2009)

A Guide to the Challenges Facing President Obama's Nuclear Abolition Agenda
Burgess Laird, National Security Analyst
The case for nuclear weapons abolition recently advanced by President Obama is built not on the familiar refrain of disarmament advocates that nuclear weapons are inherently morally unjustifiable and destabilizing, but on pragmatic grounds. (U.S. Global Engagement Program article, July 2009)


FOCUS ON U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS
(SEE ALSO: MISSILE DEFENSE IN EUROPE)

Reset Button Plus
David C. Speedie, Carnegie Council
The Obama mantra for U.S.-Russia relations is "hit the 'reset button,'" yet the Clinton years (1992-2000) were a mixed bag. We should aim for a "reset button plus," one that engages Russia on a host of issues that would directly serve America's self interest. (U.S. Global Engagement Program article, March 2009)

Beyond the NPT
Roald Sagdeev, Space Research Institute; Frank von Hippel, Princeton University
Doctors Sagdeev and von Hippel have collaborated for decades on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation between the U.S. and the USSR, and now Russia. They discuss their work and their insights for the future arms control agenda. (U.S. Global Engagement Program, June 2010. Video, audio, transcript)

Possible Attributes of a New Russian-American Treaty on Strategic Offensive Weapons: The View from Russia
Viktor Esin, Russian Academy of Sciences
Should the START Treaty expire in December without a new treaty (or accord) that has counting rules and verification procedures spelled out, it will be impossible to ensure that Russia and the U.S. fulfill their obligations to reduce the number of nuclear warheads on deployed strategic delivery vehicles. (U.S. Global Engagement Program article, July 2009)

Missile Defense: A Sphere of Competition or an Instrument for Jointly Combating the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Pavel S. Zolotarev, Russian Academy of Sciences
Despite the good intentions of the newly-elected American and Russian presidents and the leadership of the two nations, it is essential to recognize the effect of objective factors left over from Cold War times, in particular the continuing state of mutual nuclear deterrence between Russia and the United States. (U.S. Global Engagement Program article, July 2009)

Russia and U.S.-Russia Relations: David Speedie Interviews Ambassador Thomas Pickering
Thomas R. Pickering, Former U.S. Ambassador
Ambassador Thomas Pickering discusses Russia's role in the unfolding events in Iran and other potential areas of cooperation between Russia and the United States, including missile defense and NATO enlargement. (U.S. Global Engagement interview, June 2009. Video, audio, transcript)


FOCUS ON NORTH KOREA AND IRAN

North Korea: What Next?
Victor D. Cha, Georgetown University
There are no good options in negotiations with North Korea, says Bush's top advisor on North Korean affairs, Victor Cha. It's always a choice between a bad option and a worse option. (Public Affairs Program, June 2009. Video, audio, transcript)

Deterrence Beats Diplomacy on North Korea
Robert Dujarric, Temple University, Japan campus
The best reaction to the DPRK's WMD program is to maintain a high level of deterrence by ensuring that the U.S. has the visible ability to crush North Korea should Pyongyang choose the path of war.  (Global Policy Innovations article, May 2009)

North Korea's Nuclear Detonation and Northeast Asian Politics
Nikolas Gvosdev, U.S. Naval War College
Are the major powers prepared to live with a nuclear North Korea if the detonation acts as a check on U.S. power? How will events move forward—and what precedents are being set for how the Iranian crisis may also be resolved? (Global Policy Innovations audio, October 2006)

For Obama, Short-term Tactics, or Long-term Strategy on Iran?
David C. Speedie, Carnegie Council
By insisting on votes on sanctions against Iran, Obama may have sacrificed his strategic objective—to prevent the development of the Iranian bomb—for an ephemeral victory in the UN Security Council. (Interview with Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, June 2010)

Dealing with Iran: "Missed Opportunities" and "Holding Contradictory Ideas at the Same Time"
David C. Speedie, Carnegie Council; Gary Sick, Columbia University
How can we move the U.S.-Iran dialogue beyond the current mutually recriminatory stalemate? (U.S. Global Engagement article, May 2010)

Joseph Cirincione interviewed by Jeff McCausland
Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund
Joseph Cirincione discusses the tricky mix of force, sanctions, threats, incentives, and diplomacy required to deal with the growing nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea. (December 2006. Video, audio, transcript)


NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly
Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University
How does a state make a nuclear bomb? How does it hide its weapons program? How do other states detect nuclear proliferation? Gordin addresses important questions about how we think about nuclear weapons past and present. (Public Affairs Program, January 2010. Video, audio, transcript)

Nuclear Proliferation: A Delicate Balance Between Force and Diplomacy
Joseph Cirincione, Ploughshares Fund
We are at a nuclear tipping point, says Joseph Cirincione, and the policy decisions the United States makes over the next 3-5 years will decide whether or not we launch another great wave of nuclear proliferation. (Public Affairs Program, December 2006. Video, audio, transcript) 

Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of A. Q. Khan's Nuclear Network
Gordon Corera, BBC News
"Khan has wreaked havoc on attempts to restrain the spread of nuclear technology," says Corera. "He has lowered the barriers of entry for the nuclear game. He has irreversibly changed the mechanics of supply and demand, and left a really damaging legacy." (Public Affairs Program, September 2006. Video, audio, transcript)

Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
Graham Allison, Harvard University
Nuclear security expert Graham Allison gives a sobering assessment on why a nuclear attack on U.S. soil is inevitable unless we take immediate, well-concerted measures. (Public Affairs Program, November 2004. Audio, transcript)


NUCLEAR DEBATES

Global Ethics Corner: The Irony of Nuclear Weapons?
William C. Vocke Jr., Carnegie Council
Are nuclear weapons a necessary evil? Is it better to live in a world with nuclear deterrence or one that is free of nuclear threats? What do you think? (Global Ethics Corner, April 2010. Video, audio)

Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State
Garry Wills, Northwestern University
Garry Wills traces how the atomic bomb transformed our nation down to its deepest constitutional roots, defined the presidency, and redefined the government as a national security state. (Public Affairs Program, February 2010. Video, audio, transcript)

Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race
Richard Rhodes, Stanford University
It's time to finish the work that Reagan and Gorbachev began and get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world, says Rhodes. And led by George Shultz, a group of Reagan-era hawks have a step-by-step proposal on how to do it. (Public Affairs Program, November 2007. Audio, transcript)

U.S. Arms Control Policy in a Time Warp
Nina Tannenwald, Brown University
U.S. nuclear weapons policy remains mired in Cold War paradigms; the major powers no longer entirely set the agenda in the global arms control process; and arms control must focus on environmental, medical and humanitarian consequences of weapons, not just national security. (Ethics & International Affairs article, May 2001).

Alive and Kicking: The Greatly Exaggerated Death of Nuclear Deterrence (Response to Nina Tannenwald)
J. Peter Scoblic, New America Foundation
Because of the extreme military advantage that nuclear weapons grant their possessors, no nuclear weapons state can afford the relative loss of power that would come from disarming while another state did not. (Ethics & International Affairs article, May 2001).


MISSILE DEFENSE IN EUROPE

Bargaining Chip or Gas Mask? Prospects for Missile Defense
John Isaacs, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; Travis Sharp, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
This paper reviews the history of missile defense since World War II in search of insights that can be applied to the current situation. Obama retains two viable options for missile defense in Europe: "The Bargaining Chip" or "The Gas Mask." (U.S. Global Engagement Program paper, July 2009)

On U.S. Plans to Deploy ABM Systems in Europe and Possible Compromise Solutions
Pavel S. Zolotarev, Russian Academy of Sciences
Despite the good intentions of the newly-elected American and Russian presidents and the leadership of the two nations, it is essential to recognize the effect of objective factors left over from Cold War times, in particular the continuing state of mutual nuclear deterrence between Russia and the United States. (U.S. Global Engagement article, July 2009.)

Missile Defense Malfunction: Why the Proposed U.S. Missile Defenses in Europe Will Not Work
Philip Coyle, World Security Institute; Victoria Samson, Center for Defense Information
The U.S. proposal to establish missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic has exacerbated relations with Russia to a degree not seen since the Cold War, despite the fact that the system has no demonstrated capability to defend the U.S., let alone Europe. (Ethics & International Affairs, special report, April 2008).

RESPONSE TO "MISSILE DEFENSE MALFUNCTION": Setting the Record Straight
Lt. Gen Henry A. Obering III, Office of the Secretary of Defense
"Coyle and Samson systematically misrepresent or ignore key facts to bolster their arguments against deploying defenses in Europe to protect our allies and forces in that region against an emerging intermediate and long-range Iranian ballistic missile threat," says Lt. Gen. Obering.
(Ethics & International Affairs, special report, May 2008).


COMPENSATION FOR NUCLEAR TEST VETERANS

Fallout, Denials, and Trials: Recognizing the Health Legacy of Nuclear Test Veterans
David Willcox, Historian
A UK court case brought by participants in the UK's nuclear testing program raises a moral dilemma for governments, writes David Willcox. (Carnegie Ethics Online article, April 2009)

Global Ethics Corner: The Health Legacy of Nuclear Test Veterans
William C. Vocke Jr., Carnegie Council
Participants in Britain's nuclear weapons testing program argued recently that health was damaged by radiation. Who is responsible? Should compensation be a legal matter or a moral one? (Global Ethics Corner, May 2009. Video, audio)


FROM OUR ARCHIVES

Book Review: Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Physical, Medical and Social Effects of the Atomic Bombings by the Committee for the Compilation of Materials on Damage Caused by the Atomic Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (PDF)
"There is no way for us to comprehend fully all this book contains, but perhaps there is no need to try. Only one lesson has to be drawn from this. Nuclear war must not be allowed to happen. There must be no "thinking the unthinkable," no national planning of useless shelters, no estimates of "acceptable casualties..." 
Reviewer George A. Silver, Worldview Magazine, December 1981)

 

 

 

Read More: Security, Warfare, Armed Conflict, National SecurityNuclear Proliferation, U.S. Foreign Policy, , Asia, Europe, North America, Global, United States, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Japan

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