The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April 2014 against nine nations known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: the five recognized nuclear weapons states (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia) as well as India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. The suit alleges that these states failed to meet their legal obligations “to pursue in good faith” negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament.
It comes in many forms: sequester, sequestration, and (my personal favorite) sequestrable—as in “sequestrable budgetary resources.” Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, the “s” word has in many ways become synonymous with its four-letter counterpart, meaning something vulgar, offensive, and detestable. Everyone dislikes the “s” word, and for good reason. But I am increasingly dismayed at how the “s” word gets thrown around carelessly by senior policymakers as a way of avoiding a more difficult discussion.
North Korea’s fourth nuclear test has provoked renewed calls among leading South Korean lawmakers for South Korea is obtain its own nuclear deterrent force. Such sentiments are not new and reflect a long-running internal debate on how to deal with its northern neighbor. Nevertheless, with each successive North Korean nuclear detonation, calls by increasingly prominent ROK leaders to nuclearize have become more explicit.
The UN Security Council, under a U.S. presidency, unanimously adopted Resolution 2250, on Youth, Peace, and Security on December 9, 2015. Despite the historic nature of the resolution—the first specific to youth and security—it is not necessarily surprising that this first of its kind resolution should come now, as the world is seeing widespread instability, fragility, and violence.
Tactical gains against ISIS/ISIL, such as the retaking of Ramadi, should not be mistaken for strategic success. Dislodging ISIS from large swaths of Iraq and Syria will not address the conditions that made the group’s rise possible—the political oppression and destitution of large populations in both countries.
The NATO Alliance will grow from 28 to 29 members with the addition of Montenegro in the next year or two. Reaching consensus on Montenegro’s invitation was not without challenges. Indeed, the issue remained unresolved heading into the last weeks and days before the ministerial. Skeptics were hesitant to risk Russia’s ire over a country whose case, in the view of some, is not particularly compelling.
The horrors of the war in Syria, terrorist attacks, burgeoning refugee crises, the annexation of Crimea, and South China Sea disputes continue to prompt fears about the world’s direction. But, earlier this decade, Steven Pinker argued violence was declining with the end of the Cold War and the success of some peacekeeping efforts. Is that good news story obsolete?
Russia’s irredentist and revisionist narrative, coupled with its willingness to use military aggression irrespective of basic protocols of international law, creates an unstable security paradigm in Europe. Russia now presents an intractable challenge in Europe for the United States.
While they may never be able to match the capabilities and endurance of a manned, nuclear-powered submarine, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have the potential to dramatically affect the conduct of war at sea. Given their potential, the U.S. Navy must begin to think about and prepare for a world of 20,000 drones under the sea.