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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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01/02/2010
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Over the past decade, there has been much talk about a new world order, in which American "unipolarity" would be superseded by more equal arrangements between the great powers.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.

25/11/2009
By: Michael KREPON

The nuclear numbers game has changed. During the Cold War, deterrence strategists claimed that the nuclear balance mattered, even at extraordinarily high numbers. By this musty logic, the United States now has more deterrence leverage against Russia than at any time since the Soviet nuclear...

16/09/2009
By: Dennis M. GORMLEY

Dennis Gormley analyzes the recent developments in U.S. conventional capabilities that have become key to counter-proliferation policy at a time when nuclear arsenal reductions regain increasing attention. The author gauges the evolution and effectiveness of those programs, examines Russian...

10/07/2009
By: Michael MOODIE

Like much of the international security environment, the challenge of Chemical and Biological Terrorism has become more complex and uncertain in the last decade. Many issues related to CBW terrorism continue to be hotly debated, and new ones have yet to be assessed in detail. This paper seeks...

16/06/2009
By: Mark FITZPATRICK

The nuclear taboo is customarily seen as a black and white norm, separating the world of the familiar from that of an unknowable afterlife. Though consequences of a breaking of the nuclear taboo use are certainly unpredictable, one can imagine at least some of them. This article attempts to do...

18/03/2009
By: James A. RUSSELL

Unstable dynamics surrounding Iran's nuclear program may be pushing the world closer to the use of nuclear weapons than is generally realized - perhaps closer than any time since the Cuban missile crisis. This paper proposes a number of near- and longer-term scenarios to illustrate the ways in...

22/02/2009
By: Chung-Min LEE

Although North Korea maintained nuclear ambiguity for two decades, it finally gave up the pretense of having a "virtual nuclear weapons program" in October 2006 whereas Iran continues on the path of nuclear brinkmanship. Whether Iran is going to cross the nuclear Rubicon remains uncertain but...

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