While there are substantially fewer nuclear weapons today than during the Cold War era, the overall risks of nuclear war have actually expanded.
More states in more unstable regions have attained such weapons, terrorists continue to pursue them, and the command and control systems in even the most sophisticated nuclear-armed states remain susceptible to not only system and human error but, increasingly, to cyber-attack. Recent developments pertaining to North Korea and Iran, as well as the nuclear capacity of Israel, Pakistan and China, mean the risks associated with “loose” nuclear material and stockpiles are not farfetched, nor exaggerated. Given this, the role, efforts and policy initiatives (or lack of) of the US Administration could have a decisive impact on the extent to which real nuclear reductions are made, and thwarting the ‘calamitous global consequences’ of even a limited nuclear exchange. In building upon previous research, this paper will evaluate the Obama Administration’s second term in reaching for the lofty goals posited at Prague in 2009. Having fallen disappointingly short at the end of his first term, the paper will examine the extent to which Obama has attempted to realign the tensions between policy and implementation in areas pertaining to disarmament, as well as the extent to which the Administration has garnered traction in mobilizing political will towards “ending Cold War thinking” in the lead up to the November 2014 mid-term elections.
Speaker: Aiden Warren
Wednesday 24 September: 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm
Industry Engagement Room, Building 37, Level 3, Room 18