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Deterrence and Proliferation

Le lancement d'un missile balistique depuis l'eau

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).

Elie TENENBAUM

Research Fellow, Director of Ifri's Security Studies Center

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Héloïse FAYET

Research Fellow, Security Studies Center

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Jean-Louis LOZIER

Advisor, Security Studies Center

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11/04/2012
By: Dennis M. GORMLEY

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the threat of cruise missile proliferation is as equally challenging to NATO as the threat of ballistic missiles. Over the last two decades, the emergence of cruise missiles and UAVs as a threat has been slow, and governments, particularly the...

08/03/2012
By: Forrest E. MORGAN

"Escalation", the tendency of belligerents to increase the force or breadth of their attacks to gain advantage or avoid defeat, is not a new phenomenon. Systematic thought about how to manage it, however, did not crystallize until the Cold War and the invention of nuclear weapons. 

05/10/2011
By: Bruno TERTRAIS

Since 1945, nuclear deterrence has frequently been the target of continuous criticism on strategic, legal and moral grounds. In the past five years, however, the renewed debate on nuclear disarmament has been accompanied by an increase in such criticism.

14/06/2011
By: Pavel PODVIG

Nuclear weapons have traditionally occupied an important place in Russia’s national security strategy. As Russia and the United States have been reducing their nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War, their relationship has undergone a complex transformation. Russia, however, still...

23/04/2010
By: Jonathan D. POLLACK

Despite the resumption of high-level diplomatic contact between Washington and Pyongyang in late 2009, realization of a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula remains a very remote prospect, with the DPRK insisting that a peace agreement between the U.S. and North Korea and hence the cessation of ...

15/02/2010
By: Bobo LO

Over the past decade, there has been much talk about a new world order, in which American "unipolarity" would be superseded by more equal arrangements between the great powers. One such idea is a return to the Russia-China-US triangle. In truth, however, the time for such geopolitical schemes...

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