Policy Brief No.82 - July, 2020
On June 15, a clash between two nuclear-armed neighbours, fighting with fists, rocks and clubs at an altitude of 4,250 metres, led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. Chinese casualties are unconfirmed but are estimated at 40 deaths. Each side blames the other for the deadly clash. China’s media is state controlled but India’s too is noisily jingoistic. The Modi government’s propensity to bluster and to impugn the patriotism of anyone asking critical or sceptical questions does not inspire confidence in its narrative significantly more than in China’s official narrative. India does not seem to have learnt anything from its abysmal global public diplomacy in the clash with Pakistan in February 2019. With these caveats in mind, what happened; why; and what does it mean going forward?
Policy Brief No.75 - May, 2020
The near-universal response to the panic created by COVID-19 leads to the conclusion that the number of ICU beds needed to deal with a disaster should become a new norm, and a new way to judge when radical action is needed to respond to a global threat. So what other types of global catastrophes could call for more hospital infrastructure and personnel than is now available? The nuclear bomb is one obvious answer. This Policy Brief, first published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (28 April 2010), applies the number of available intensive care beds as the new measure for potential nuclear catastrophes.
Policy Brief No.66 - November, 2019
This brief draws from a Nautilus Institute, Technology for Global Security, Preventive Defense Project workshop, when a speed-scenarios exercise involving nuclear weapons and social media experts and practitioners was conducted to explore antidotes to potentially catastrophic effects of social media on the risk of nuclear war. To anticipate how social media might play out in the world of nuclear early warning, studies of social media in other domains where it was used to promote extremist views and behaviour were examined: anti-vaccination, anti-Semitism, gang, ethnic, and terrorist violence in cities. Four “short circuit” hypothetical, imaginary scenarios were produced at the workshop that explored how and what circuit breakers might be created that avoid or overcome the destabilising effect of social media on nuclear early warning systems and nuclear command decisions.
Policy Brief No.65 - November, 2019
This policy brief analyses the seriousness of the challenges that the international arms control system faces, to explore whether it is possible and how to maintain the values of arms control and to keep the world in strategic stability. With a particular focus on China’s policy on nuclear issues and attitude to nonproliferation, the author argues that it seems to be inevitable for the international arms control system to face challenges at the current stage. The challenges are real and serious, but it is still possible to keep the world restraint and away from military competition, if the world community can work together and re-regulate big powers into the international institutions.
Summary Report No.64 - November, 2019
A recent international workshop of experts and diplomats has concluded that sweeping changes in the world order over the last two decades have contributed to the unravelling of the arms control regime. The workshop, convened by the Toda Peace Institute, the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs and the University of Otago, brought together representatives of the arms control communities in the United States, Russia, Europe, China, India, Pakistan, Japan and the Middle East. A key theme concerned the prospects for checking the dangerous dynamics now under way in this time of turbulent change. The workshop examined three historical precedents for managing international security and arms control cooperatively and drew a number of lessons for the present day.