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Deterrence and Proliferation

The prospect of completely eliminating nuclear weapons seems distant. In sharp contrast with the pragmatic ambitions outlined by Barack Obama in his 2009 speech in Prague, and even more so with the hopes brought about by the fall of the Berlin Wall, nuclear weapons should no longer be perceived as the symbol of a bygone era. Nuclear disarmament also appears out of step with the deep geopolitical upheavals that characterize the current international order – redistribution of power in favor of emerging countries, uncertain future of the transatlantic relationship, territorial rivalries and destabilization of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East…

Established within Ifri’s Security Studies Center, the Deterrence and Proliferation program intends to stimulate public debate and to further our understanding of the complexity of the nuclear issue in all its dimensions: technical, regional, diplomatic and budgetary. The role of nuclear weapons in national security strategies has to be grasped in relation with shifting balances of military power at the global and regional levels, both for nuclear weapon states and potential candidates to proliferation. To this end, the Deterrence and Proliferation program publishes and circulates reports and analyses on: nuclear postures, strategies and capabilities; multilateral efforts to reduce arsenals and strengthen the non-proliferation regime; and on the development of strategic capabilities closely related to deterrence missions (conventional prompt strategic strikes and ballistic missile defense systems).

Corentin BRUSTLEIN

Research fellow, Head of the Security Studies Center

14/01/2015

About a decade ago, the U.S. started to examine options to develop and acquire Conventional Prompt Global Strike capabilities. This move fits in an effort to conventionalize deterrence, an effort initiated decades before and undertaken for profound and diverse motives. Although it has been...

17/12/2014
By: Richard WEITZ

The use of chemical weapons (CW) in Syria and the decision to award the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reminded the international community that these weapons continue to represent a serious threat. The number of incidents of chemical...

10/06/2014
By: Brad ROBERTS

The strategic value of missile defense remains in considerable debate in Europe but less so in the United States. The rising American consensus in support of BMD follows from its perceptions of a changed and changing security environment since the end of the Cold War and the emergence of a new...

06/03/2014
By: Mustafa KIBAROGLU

This paper discusses Turkey"s attitudes vis-à-vis nuclear weapons and Ballistic Missile Defense in the light of recent developments in the Iranian nuclear program and NATO"s evolving concept of extended deterrence. On the one hand, the long-standing forward deployment of US tactical nuclear...

05/02/2014
By: Łukasz KULESA

Since Poland first expressed its willingness to host a critical part of the US Ballistic Missile Defense architecture, in 2002, the program has undergone several setbacks. Today, while Poland is still expected to host key elements of the US BMD capabilities, contributing to NATO"s territorial...

02/12/2013
By: Jeffrey LEWIS

In many respects, the People"s Republic of China"s nuclear arsenal and posture appear unusual to Western eyes. From its “No First Use” policy to its nuclear warhead storage system, Beijing appears to think about nuclear weapons and their strategic effects in a way that differs...

29/04/2013
By: Lawrence FREEDMAN

Since the end of the Cold War, the international security environment has been transformed and nuclear weapons have been marginalized in the West. However, the NATO security policies remain almost unchanged: deterrence is still considered as a principle guiding the Atlantic Alliance, even...

04/02/2013
By: Shahram CHUBIN

In the long standoff regarding its nuclear ambition, Iran has cultivated ambiguity and been loath to reliably assure the international community of its ultimate intentions, complicating Western efforts to understand, let alone constrain, Tehran"s endeavors. While many analyses have focused on...

18/12/2012

In December 2003, Japan decided to be the second country in the Asia-Pacific to deploy a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. Started in the 1980s as a defense industry cooperation initiative, BMD efforts have been highly prioritized since the 1998 North Korean missile launch to cope with...

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