Debating the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty: Regional Perspectives

With its 50th ratification, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is soon set to become legally binding. It is a contentious treaty, drafted by a group of 124 non-nuclear-weapon countries in 2017. Since its genesis, it has been boycotted by over 50 states, including all current nuclear-weapon states. Its supporters argue that it brings a new perspective to disarmament negotiations, as well as a binding norm that fills a legal gap which has allowed the continued existence of atomic bombs. Its critics, on the contrary, argue that the treaty is too ambiguous and that it does not create any instruments to ensure effective, verifiable, and permanent atomic disarmament. Deep Cuts Commissioner Oliver Meier took part in a virtual event discussing both local and global implications of a binding TPNW as well as possible consequences for the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime. Watch a recording of the event here

NATO-Russia Crisis Brief

Nuclear tensions between NATO and Russia are dangerously high. A lack of trust and increasingly close military interactions between NATO and Russia threaten to spark a crisis that could rapidly escalate to the use of nuclear weapons by accident or miscalculation. In December 2020, the Nuclear Crisis Group (NCG) published a new report about the risks of NATO-Russia escalation to nuclear use, and the steps governments can take to mitigate tensions, lower the odds of miscalculation, and enhance stability. Deep Cuts Commissioner Sarah Bidgood contributed the chapter "Reducing Tension in Russia-NATO Relations: A Two-Part Act." Read the full report here

Reviving Nuclear Arms Control Under Biden

The Biden presidency that begins in January will adopt some very different directions from its predecessor in foreign policy. One such area is arms control, particularly nuclear arms control with Russia. President-elect Biden understands that arms control can contribute to U.S. security, something that President Donald Trump never seemed to fully appreciate. Biden will agree to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the sole remaining agreement limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear forces. His administration should aim to go beyond that and negotiate further nuclear arms cuts. That will not prove to be easy. Doing so, however, could produce arrangements that would enhance U.S. security and reduce nuclear risks. Read the latest article by Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer here

War & Peace Podcast: The Future of NATO

The geopolitical landscape has transformed dramatically since NATO was established in 1949. As a transatlantic alliance that seeks to safeguard democratic values and the rule of law, how well has it adapted through the years and what should its priorities be going forward? Former NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller joins Deep Cuts Commissioner Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope to share her thoughts on the challenges of rebuilding the transatlantic relationship, responding to emerging threats outside of NATO’s traditional mandate, and preserving its core principles in an ever-changing world. Listen to the full episode here

Getting P5 strategic risk reduction right: What NATO non-nuclear-weapon states seek from nuclear-weapon states

Substantive new strategic risk reduction measures are an important means of improving strategic stability if they lower the dangers of the unintended use of nuclear weapons. The five nuclear-weapon states recognised by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States; the P5) also regard such steps as genuine progress toward the fulfilment of their nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT. Many non-nuclear-weapon states outside of military alliances with nuclear-weapon states, such as the states of the Non-Aligned Movement, perceive strategic risk reduction as a modest contribution to nuclear disarmament. To be sure, they, too, would like to see nuclear risks reduced but they are concerned that nuclear-weapon states may emphasise strategic risk reduction as a way of deflecting pressure from reducing the number and role of nuclear weapons. Read the latest commentary on these matters by Deep Cuts Commissioner Oliver Meier and Maximilian Hoell here

The looming US withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty

The Trump administration’s antipathy toward arms control will strike again on November 22, when the United States withdraws from the Open Skies Treaty. That is a mistake. While Russia has violated the treaty, the United States has reciprocated. NATO allies support the treaty - which focuses first and foremost on enhancing European security - and wish the United States to remain a party. Whether the treaty can continue following the American departure remains to be seen and will depend on what Russia does. When it takes office, the Biden administration should consider reentering the agreement, though that may require some creative international lawyering. Read the latest article by Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer on a possible way ahead here

Four steps Biden must take to reset the nuclear agenda

While the danger of nuclear weapons was rarely mentioned on the U.S. presidential campaign trail, the nuclear weapons policy approaches of the two candidates stood in stark contrast. In the end, the American public rejected a president - one who made both casual and overt threats of nuclear war and repeatedly referred to the most destructive force ever created by humankind as “the nuclear” - for a candidate who agrees with former President Ronald Reagan’s assertion that a nuclear war can never be won, and so must never be fought. Read the latest article on this matter by Deep Cuts Commissioner Alexandra Bell here

Press the Button podcast with Steven Pifer

The latest episode of Press the Button gives a unique look at what is possible for future nuclear policy, and how the nuclear policy field should respond in the face of weakened arms control agreements, increased nuclear arsenal modernization, and a new presidential administration in the United States. Deep Cuts Commissioner Steven Pifer discusses on what the incoming Joe Biden administration can do to reduce nuclear threats when in office. Listen here