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The Future of Nuclear Weapons More proliferation or further reductions? Keith Hansen February 19, 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "The Future of Nuclear Weapons More proliferation or further reductions? Keith Hansen February 19, 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Future of Nuclear Weapons More proliferation or further reductions? Keith Hansen February 19, 2015

2 Introduction Cover central issues regarding nuclear weapons Uncertainty of US – Russian relations & China raises doubts about further reducing our nuclear arsenal Potential proliferation and ISIS/ISIL activities raise questions about the utility of nuclear weapons

3 Key Questions Which countries have nuclear weapons? Why do other countries want nuclear weapons? Should we be concerned about further proliferation? Are nuclear weapons really useful? Is the total elimination of nuclear weapons likely? Are terrorists likely to use nuclear weapons?

4 Terminology & Concepts Weapon-grade fissile material (U-235 & Plutonium) Nuclear bombs & warheads Nuclear weapon systems

5 US & Russian strategic nuclear arsenals Cold War: From a few bombs (late 1940s) to over 10,000 deployed bombs & warheads (1980s) Post-Cold War: START (1991) – reduced bombs/warheads to 6,000 SORT (2002) – further reduced to ~3,500 New START (2010) – now reducing to ~1,550 (by 2018)* *Additional bombs & warheads are kept in reserve & in maintenance

6 Other Nuclear Weapon States* UK – 1950~300 bombs/warheads France – 1960~300“ China – 1964~500“ Israel – 1960s (undeclared)~100“ India – 1974 & 1998~100“ Pakistan – 1998~100“ North Korea – 2006~12“ *South Africa – had 6 bombs until early 1990s


8 Why Nuclear Weapons? National security - deter potential aggressors International prestige & status Political/strategic agenda

9 Nuclear Weapons Are a Game Changer Alter the power balance, especially between large & small countries Effective in deterring potential aggressors Credible weapon of last resort if a state’s existence is threatened Therefore, the motivations to have them are strong!

10 So, Further Proliferation is Likely Iran Saudi Arabia Egypt South Korea Taiwan Japan

11 But, Successful Proliferation Requires a Comprehensive Nuclear-weapon Program Production of weapon-grade fissile material Ability to build bombs or warheads Delivery systems, effective command/control, maintenance, & secure storage

12 Further Proliferation Increases Chances of … A nuclear-weapon being used Fissile material being sold or stolen Provoking even more proliferation Weakening diplomacy & sanctions Therefore, it threatens international stability!

13 International Efforts* to Prevent Proliferation Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) – 1968 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions & sanctions Comprehensive Nuclear Testban Treaty (CTBT) – 1996 Regional Nuclear-Weapon Free Zones *Demonstrate widespread concern about the implications of further proliferation

14 National Efforts to Prevent Proliferation Intelligence collection, analysis, & other activities Diplomatic initiatives/incentives/pressure Economic sanctions International Efforts to prevent Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) – 2002 Threat of military force

15 Are Nuclear Weapons Really Useful? Do they deter other nuclear-weapon states? Do they deter larger conventional forces? Do they deter attacks by rogue states? Do they deter attacks by terrorist groups?

16 If Not, Why Not Eliminate Them? It would require … A comprehensive agreement by all nuclear weapon countries Effective verification to deter cheating The willingness to deal with cheating Does this seem feasible?

17 Are Terrorists Likely to Use Nuclear Weapons? Strong motivations, but they must … Obtain an existing nuclear bomb or weapon-grade fissile material Have the expertise to handle and deploy The challenges are formidable, but further proliferation would make it easier! Meanwhile, other types of weapons are more feasible.

18 Conclusions Further proliferation is more likely than total elimination! Chances are high that additional nuclear-weapon states will emerge. Chances are low that all nuclear-weapon states will give up their arsenals. Motivations for having such weapons are strong. Terrorist use of nuclear, chemical or biological material is a matter of when, not if!

19 Nightmare Scenarios North Korea becomes even more aggressive Pakistan becomes a radical Islamic state Iran becomes a nuclear-weapon state

20 Questions?

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