Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Reflections on R2P as a New Normative Settling Point

Policy Brief  No.189 - May, 2024 • By Ramesh Thakur

This Policy Brief is a reflection on the origins, progress, setbacks, and current status of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the international community’s organising principle for responding to the threat or outbreak of mass atrocity crimes inside sovereign jurisdictions. While the articulation, refinement, institutionalisation, and consolidation of such a norm is one thing, the question remains: has R2P made a difference in practice? This question is addressed by Ramesh Thakur, a former UN assistant secretary-general, and a Commissioner and one of the principal authors of R2P.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Preparations for Nuclear War-Fighting and the Demise of Arms Control

Policy Brief  No.188 - April, 2024 • By Sverre Lodgaard

This Policy Brief examines nuclear war-fighting preparations and asks whether tensions can be ameliorated by risk reduction and confidence-building measures. Arms control used to be based on an assumption of stabilization of big power relations in order to avoid a war that nobody wants. Today revisionist powers in Europe and East Asia defy stability, and in the US and Russia war-fighting preparations include nuclear as well as conventional and other means, especially at theatre level. China may be moving in the same direction, but there is not enough evidence to say so with certainty. US–China relations are facing the Thucydides trap, and the triangular politics of the three leading nuclear powers is inherently unstable. Except for the Cuban Missile Crisis and the critical state of US–Soviet relations around 1980, the present world is more dangerous than it has ever been in the nuclear age.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Nuclear War Impacts on Distant, Non-Combatant Countries

Policy Brief  No.187 - March, 2024 • By Wren Green

This Policy Brief examines the rarely-discussed topic of how nuclear war might impact non-combatant countries that are far from likely conflict zones, in particular the likely impacts of nuclear war on New Zealand. Rather than the catastrophic, immediate consequences of exploding warheads, distant non-combatants would face a cascade of economic social, and environmental disruptions which would be pervasive, complex, long-term, highly disruptive and would test the very fabric of their existence. Some of the identified vulnerabilities could be reduced beforehand and such actions could also make it easier for the country to recover from more likely global disruptions. Identifying and reducing key vulnerabilities increases resilience and would help recovery from global shocks including nuclear war.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Ten Take-Aways on Russia’s War and Five Ideas for the Future of Ukraine and Beyond

Policy Brief  No.183 - February, 2024 • By Herbert Wulf

This Policy Brief discusses the Ukraine war which is now entering its tenth year. Two years ago, President Vladimir Putin announced the so-called “special military operation”. There is no end in sight. To end suffering and destruction it is necessary to think about pathways to peace. How to end the war or at least achieve a ceasefire? What are the most important results of this war so far? Here are the ten key results of the war and five ideas for a possible way out.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

“Rent-a-Soldier”: War as Business

Policy Brief  No.170 - August, 2023 • By Herbert Wulf

Wars are not only fought by armed forces. Often, different non-state actors are involved. Private or non-state actors were at times more important than state-established armed forces. Armed conflicts became an attractive and profitable business for some of the participants in wars, who offered themselves for political goals for their economic profit. After the end of the Cold War, economic and personnel shortages in the military sector accelerated privatization, and several factors have contributed to a gold rush for private military companies in the 2000s. They operate in a legal grey area and undermine the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Thus, there is a need to regulate them.