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Nuclear Coronavirus CSS Blog

Corona and the Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Ever since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been in crisis. Tehran has taken various steps that violate the JCPOA provisions, but it is keeping the door open for their full implementation. European governments have tried to circumvent related US sanctions against Iran, at least for humanitarian supplies. This should help Iran, especially with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. But will it be possible to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons over the long term?

On 9 July 2020, Névine Schepers, Researcher in the Team Swiss and Euro-Atlantic Security at the CSS addressed this topic in a CSS Brown Bag Webinar entitled “Corona and the Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

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Nuclear Coronavirus CSS Blog

The US-China Clash over Corona Has Implications for Nuclear Arms Control

Image courtesy of the White House/Flickr.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

US-China relations are at a new low-point following the global spread of the coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The pandemic has exacerbated tensions in what was already a fragile relationship, plagued by disputes on issues related to the South China Sea, Taiwan, trade, and 5G technology. Nuclear weapons, however, were not featured as a central element of the US-China confrontation, at least not at same level as other issues of contention, but this is likely to change. A recent call for China to drastically increase its nuclear arsenal published in the nationalistic Chinese newspaper the Global Times has revived a domestic debate on Chinese nuclear deterrence, highlighting concerns over perceived US hostile behavior.

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Nuclear

Will the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Survive the 2020s?

Image courtesy of Christopher Ruano/DVIDS.

This article was originally published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on 20 February 2020.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The treaty has three separate but inter-related objectives: preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapon technologies to more countries; promoting cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; and pressing the existing nuclear-weapon states to disarm.

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Nuclear

What the End of the INF Treaty Means for China

Image courtesy of US Department of Defense

This article was originally published by the Carnegie Moscow Center in December 2019.

Beijing perceives the U.S. withdrawal from the INF and possible deployment of ground-based missiles to Asia as part of Washington’s broader campaign to contain China. Overall, China can be fairly confident regarding its chances in a potential missile race in Asia, thanks to several advantages.

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Technology

Hypersonic Weapons: Tactical Uses and Strategic Goals

Image courtesy of DVIDS

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 12 November 2019.

Hypersonic flight is not new. The V-2 rocket and the vast majority of the ballistic missiles that it inspired achieved hypersonic speeds (i.e., speeds faster than the speed of sound or Mach 5+) as they fell from the sky, as did crewed aircraft like the rocket-powered X-15. Rather than speed, today’s renewed attention to hypersonic weapons owes to developments that enable controlled flight. These new systems have two sub-varieties: hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles. Glide vehicles are the cousins of ballistic warheads: they are lofted on high velocity boosters, separate, then use momentum and control surfaces to skip and glide through the upper atmosphere before crashing onto their targets. The cruise missiles use an advanced propulsion system (a SCRAMJET) for powered flight. While the descriptions are straightforward, the engineering needed to accomplish the guidance and maneuvering (not to mention survivability) of these weapons is far from clear.