Rethinking Nuclear Weapons

One of the most important and unremarked trends in nuclear weapons thinking is the constant change in the perceived capabilities and value of nuclear weapons. Hailed as miracle weapons in 1945, able to “assure success in negotiations,” prevent attacks, and guarantee great power status, the record of nuclear weapons has been one of continual disappointment.

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Britain's political parties and their nuclear postures

In 2016, for only the second time in Britain’s history as a nuclear power, Parliament is expected to vote to decide the future of the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear deterrent. Britain’s nuclear policy is heavily influenced by the ideological positions of Britain’s three dominant political parties. Each of the parties has a spread of opinion within them.

NATO ministers meeting should consider security costs of a nuclear defence

Foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Council will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels this week. Chaired by NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, this meeting will likely begin preparations for the 2014 NATO Summit to be held 4-5 September in Newport, South Wales. It is also likely that this week’s meeting will continue the discussions on “Defence Matters”,

The Role of NATO in the French White Paper and implications for nuclear arms control

NATO Flags

This paper examines the relationship that  France has with NATO through  its policy of nuclear deterrence in a European context, with a focus on France's most recent "White Paper". France has historically placed a high priority on the role of nuclear weapons in security policy and maintains that its current nuclear posture meets only "strict sufficiency" requirements. The author argues, however, that during a time when tactical nuclear weapons are diminishing in acceptance by the international community, especially amidst a strained economic environment, change could be around the corner.

Strengthening Nonproliferation: Game-Changing Ideas

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 (All day)

United Nations First Committee Side Event
Ward Wilson and Barry Blechman discussed how to rethink the different value perceptions of nuclear weapons within an international security framework, in order to strengthen nonproliferation efforts. The event took place on October 16th, as a side event at the United Nations First Committee. Angela Kane moderated the event and Benno Laggner from the Swiss delegation made introductory remarks.

'Defending the Future': A rational approach to Britain's future nuclear arsenal

The UK faces a major strategic choice at the 2015 election over whether to renew the UK’s nuclear weapons systems beyond 2042. This briefing was commissioned by BASIC and WMD Awareness for the Liberal Democrat Party Annual Conference this month. It outlines the debate, the options, and other considerations that need to be taken into account by decision makers during this time of deliberation.

Minimum Deterrence: Examining the Examination

The mid-August publication of the National Institute for Public Policy’s Minimum Deterrence: Examining the Evidence has re-invigorated the debate on America’s nuclear policy and on the concept of nuclear deterrence in general: Does it make sense in the 21st century? Can a ‘Deterrence Lite’ policy, hereafter called ‘Minimum Deterrence’ (MD), really work?

Cold War thinking and nuclear deterrence in the 21st century

BASIC’s This Week released on Monday July 29th focuses on the prevailing Cold War mentality that pervades strategic thinking in many of the nuclear armed states. These are the same states that continue to slow progress on global nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts. With 190 states (if one includes North Korea) signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), we need to get better at identifying and deconstructing the obstacles to progress.

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