Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea

Since the late 1980s, when U.S. officials became aware that North Korea was actively pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities, U.S. administrations have used a combination of pressure, deterrence, and diplomacy to try to reduce the threat posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea. The need for an effective North Korea strategy has become more pressing over the… Continue Reading Nuclear Negotiations with North Korea


Seeking to avoid sectarian conflict, Lebanese leaders created a confessional system that allocated power among the country’s religious sects according to their percentage of the population. Since then, Lebanon’s demographics and political dynamics have shifted, exacerbating tension among groups, at times stoking sectarian violence, and creating political gridlock on issues that require dividing power, such… Continue Reading Lebanon

Russia: Foreign Policy and U.S. Relations

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to leadership more than 20 years ago, tensions have increased steadily between Russia and the United States. Most observers agree Russia’s natural resources and military modernization program, launched in 2008, provide Russia’s leadership the means to conduct a flexible and often aggressive foreign policy, as well as to project… Continue Reading Russia: Foreign Policy and U.S. Relations

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven principalities or “emirates.” Its population is assessed at nearly 10 million, but about 90% of the population are expatriates from within and outside the region who work in its open economy. The UAE is a significant U.S. security partner that hosts about 3,500 U.S. military… Continue Reading United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?: Proliferation Models as Concurrent Pressures on a State

Major Curtice applies three theoretical models of nuclear proliferation and argues that they are more accurate when used in conjunction with each other than separately. Nuclear proliferation, Curtice states, occurs when Domestic Politics-Positive and Normative-Positive pressures are greater than their negative counterparts when a state is facing a security threat. By using India as a… Continue Reading Why Do States Build Nuclear Weapons?: Proliferation Models as Concurrent Pressures on a State

Iran Sanctions

    Successive Administrations and Congresses have used economic sanctions to try to change Iran’s behavior. U.S. sanctions on Iran—primarily “secondary sanctions” on firms that conduct certain transactions with Iran—have adversely affected Iran’s economy but have arguably not, to date, altered Iran’s pursuit of core strategic objectives including its support for regional armed factions and… Continue Reading Iran Sanctions

Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Update

In 2014, John P. Caves, Jr., and W. Seth Carus of the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at National Defense University published a paper on the future of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).[i] That paper projected WMD-relevant geopolitical and technological trends and made judgments as to how those trends would shape… Continue Reading Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Update

Australia’s Strategic Posture

      Australia is responding to increased uncertainty in its strategic environment by developing a new strategic posture that will likely allow it greater flexibility to act independently. In new strategic documents, Australia has outlined plans to increase its defense spending, acquire key combat systems, and further develop strategic and defense ties and bilateral… Continue Reading Australia’s Strategic Posture

Azerbaijan and Armenia: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

  In autumn 2020, a six-week war in the South Caucasus reshaped the dynamics of a decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The dispute centers on the predominantly Armenian populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh (or Mountainous Karabakh, also known in Armenian as Artsakh) and surrounding territories internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The war has resulted… Continue Reading Azerbaijan and Armenia: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

Iran’s national security policy is arguably the product of overlapping and sometimes competing priorities such as the ideology of Iran’s Islamic revolution, perception of threats to the regime and to the country, and long-standing national interests. The incoming Biden Administration has indicated that it will seek to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement if Iran comes… Continue Reading Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies