Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs

To see the full list of Policy Briefs, click here.

Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Nuclear Battleground: Debating the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

Policy Brief  No.16 - June, 2018

This Policy Brief compares and contrasts the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review with past reviews and its Obama predecessor. It concludes that this review offers a much harsher assessment of the security environment; it posits a more expansive role for nuclear weapons; and proposes a substantial de-emphasis on arms control. In tone and direction, the 2018 NPR signals a nuclear environment that is more menacing and more competitive, less regulated by negotiated agreement, and marked more by modernization than by reductions in forces. It focuses too much attention on Russian threats, sees weaknesses in the US deterrence posture and believes that deterrence will be bolstered by providing the president with additional usable nuclear options. While there are continuities between this NPR and earlier ones what makes this one particularly worrying is the incumbent Commander in Chief who seeks to blur past distinctions between conventional and nuclear forces.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Summary Report: Harmonizing the NPT and the Nuclear Ban Treaty

Summary Report  No.15 - May, 2018

In collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN), European Leadership Network (ELN), and with support from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Toda Peace Institute convened a workshop in Seoul on 22 and 23 March under the title of ‘Closing the Gap: Harmonizing the NPT and the Nuclear Ban Treaty.’ The aim of the initiative was to enhance convergence between the NPT and Ban Treaty, to inform the 2020 NPT Review Conference and strengthen the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime. In preparation for the workshop, APLN and the Toda Institute commissioned several background Policy Briefs.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

A Real Path to Peace on the Korean Peninsula: The Progress and Promise of the Moon-Kim Summit

Policy Brief  No.14 - May, 2018

Chung-in Moon, Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs and National Security to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, comments in his recent article in Foreign Affairs (April 30, 2018) that the April 2018 summit between North and South Korea represents ‘real progress and lays the groundwork for lasting peace.’ Chung-in Moon served as adviser to Kim Dae-Jung and has attended the past three summits between the two Koreas (in 2000, 2007, and 2018). From this perspective, he feels that the recent summit could be considered a historic achievement. “Moon and Kim did not just make high-level commitments; they also laid out specific timetables for implementing them and took concrete steps that will have immediate effects in facilitating cooperation and preventing conflict” on the Korean peninsula, he writes. The article suggests this offers hope that a comprehensive deal including denuclearization by North Korea may be achievable in a couple of years.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Europe to the Rescue?

Policy Brief  No.13 - May, 2018

Whether or not President Trump unilaterally withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal on 12 May, Europe will face an uphill battle to save it. If sanctions are applied immediately, or threatened every 120 days, that will undermine one of the fundamental tenets of the agreement. Businesses will be unwilling to risk investing in an economy under the threat of sanctions. This will mean Iran will be denied the benefits to which it is entitled to under the agreement and will have little incentive to continue complying with its nuclear obligations. In fact, current statements from Tehran indicate that Iran might walk away from the deal entirely. Europe is making last-ditch efforts to meet Trump’s challenge but it needs a backup plan to salvage the nuclear deal if the U.S. withdraws or carries out its part of the bargain half-heartedly. This policy brief identifies a series of European options that will protect the JCPOA from both a U.S. withdrawal and continued uncertainty. It argues that a package of positive incentives aimed at persuading the Iranian leadership of the benefits of compliance with the JCPOA outweigh the potential costs of noncompliance and retaliation.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Nuclear-Armed Cruise Missiles Should be Banned

Policy Brief  No.12 - May, 2018

The United States, Russia and other nuclear weapons possessors have embarked on a very dangerous and costly arms race that is seriously increasing the risk of nuclear war. Creative new approaches are needed to put the brakes on this arms race, and restore movement in the direc-tion of enhanced strategic stability, decreased reliance on nuclear weapons, and nuclear arms control and disarmament. Just as we must defuse this new Cold War, we must think beyond tired Cold War arms control frameworks while still drawing on the positive lessons learned from them. Eliminating all nuclear-armed cruise missiles of any range would be an extremely important step for re-launching global nuclear arms control efforts.