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The Other North Korea Question: How Important is the Korean Peninsula to the US?

Image courtesy of Blue House (Republic of Korea)/Wikimedia. Korean Open Government License Type I: Attribution

This article was published by the Lowy Institute on 29 March 2018.

America’s leadership in the Asia Pacific was founded in the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and on its status as the first atomic power. Nuclear weapons thereafter defined Asian geopolitics. Today, on the Korean Peninsula, nuclear technology is again set to feature in a dramatic shift in Asia’s power balance. With a summit meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un now in prospect, future historians may come to see North Korea’s nuclear-armed ballistic missiles as the trigger that unravels America’s strategic leadership of Asia.

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Estimated Global Nuclear Warhead Inventories 1945-2017

 

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This graphic provides an overview of estimated global nuclear warhead inventories from 1945 to 2017. To find out about the Trump administration’s ‘Nuclear Posture Review’ and what it means for US nuclear policy, see Oliver Thränert ‘s recent addition to the CSS’ Analyses in Security Policy series here. For more CSS charts and graphs on proliferation, click here.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review: Signaling Restraint with Stipulations

Image courtesy of US Air Force.

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) on 1 February 2018.

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is a thoughtful, deliberative report that captures the big strategic issues facing the United States in the area of nuclear force structure.[1] This is surprising and welcome in my view. The previous two NPRs, in 2002 and 2010 respectively, were ideological tracts with little policy analysis of the strategic issues facing the United States. This one is different.

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Behind North Korea´s Olive Branch: An Alternative View

Image courtesy of (stephan)/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) on 5 January 2017.

Synopsis

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s conciliatory gestures towards South Korea are a welcome move. But they should not belie the high possibility that it will continue ballistic missile and warhead testing in 2018.

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Nuclear Norms and the UN Ban Treaty

Image courtesy of US Department of Energy

This article was originally published on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute‘s The Strategist on 20 November 2017.

On 7 July, 122 states voted to adopt a new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It articulates the world’s collective revulsion at the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, under any circumstances. The foreseeable effects of use in the indeterminate future make the possession of bombs today morally unacceptable to the international community. The treaty’s primary intent is to stigmatise nuclear weapons through a legally binding prohibition instrument in order to induce movement towards nuclear disarmament by the bomb-possessing countries.

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