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Security Defense

The Future of NATO Missile Defense

Ballistic missile firing from US military vessel, courtesy of NATO

NATO’s missile defense program remains mired in controversy because of its disputed costs, feasibility and strategic necessity, and because of how it has negatively impacted the Alliance’s relations with Russia. To discuss these and related issues, ETH Zurich’s Center for Security Studies (CSS) recently hosted an Evening Talk on the future of NATO missile defense. The guest speakers were Roberto Zadra, who heads the Ballistic Missile Defense Section in NATO’s Defense Investment Division, and Bruno Rösli, who is the Deputy Director of Security Policy for the Swiss Federal Department of Defense,  Civil Protection and Sport.

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Technology Regional Stability Diplomacy

Chemical Disarmament in Syria and the Future of the Chemical Weapons Control Regime

Soldiers wearing protection suits. Image: Percy Jones/Wikimedia

What questions has the Syrian conflict raised about the current and future efforts to dismantle and destroy all known stockpiles of chemical weapons? To answer this and a host of other questions, our parent organization, the Center for Security Studies (CSS), hosted an Evening Talk on 23 October 2014 that offered a Swiss perspective on the global chemical weapons control regime and related developments in Syria. The guest speakers were Ambassador Benno Laggner, who is the Head of Security Policy at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and Stefan Mogl, who currently leads the Chemistry Division at the Spiez Laboratory, which analyzed suspected chemical warfare samples in the aftermath of the August 2013 chemical attacks in the Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.

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Security

“The Longest Sought, Hardest Fought Prize” – A New Boost for the CTBT?

A nuclear weapon is detonated at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946. Image: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons/flickr

In defiance of international warnings, North Korea recently went ahead with its third nuclear test. On 12 February, an explosion was set off in the country’s northeast, close to the location of the two previous nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. Pyongyang promptly declared the test a success, with its state-owned news agency announcing that the nuclear device was smaller and lighter yet more powerful than previous devices. International condemnation was swift and unambiguous. The UN Security Council – including North Korea‘s sole major ally China – strongly condemned the test and vowed to take further action against Pyongyang.

Since 1998, North Korea is the only country known to have tested a nuclear weapon, an act which is now regarded as highly provocative and the behavior of a ‘rogue state’. And yet nuclear testing is still not banned under international law. Indeed, the treaty that would prohibit all nuclear tests – the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) – has now been in limbo for more than 15 years.  

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Security Elections Foreign policy

U.S. Presidential Elections: What Role for Foreign and Security Policy?

U.S. presidential elections 2012
President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan – Betting on America. Photo: Anirudh Koul/flickr

On the 9 October, the ISN and the Center for Security Studies (our parent organization) hosted an expert panel organized by the US Embassy in Bern. The panelists, who included Ms. Susan M. Elbow, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy; Professor Antonius Liedhegener; Mr. Claude Longchamp; and Professor Corwin Smidt, provided their observations on how US international relations and security interests are impacting the current American presidential elections, if at all. You can find out more about their perspectives and opinions by watching the following video.