Arms Proliferation and Control

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The U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race ended in détente, but nuclear development efforts and WMD proliferation in India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran have caused geopolitical instability since the Cold War's end. RAND has applied strategic analysis to nuclear confrontation scenarios and international deterrence efforts since its earliest work on game theory, with particular focus on the roles of both diplomacy and missile defense systems in global as well as regional security.

  • Report

    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    The United Nations has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. Enforcement has been mixed, and North Korea has become adept at several techniques to evade sanctions.

    Sep 23, 2021

  • Content

    Where Russia Markets and Sells Advanced Conventional Weapons

    Russia uses arms exports to further relations with other countries, influence their political and military leaders, and further its broader foreign and defense policy goals. A series of maps show the extent of its marketing, negotiating, and sales of key weapons systems.

    Jun 11, 2021

Explore Arms Proliferation and Control

  • ROK guards in the DMZ

    Commentary

    A Delicate Deterrence Dance with North Korea

    How does Washington signal tenacity to a pugnacious Pyongyang and demonstrate resolve to a jittery Seoul, all without inadvertently triggering an escalatory spiral?

    Apr 11, 2013

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Kerry and Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Mouaz al-Khatib during Kerry's 2013 Middle East visit

    Commentary

    The Risks of an Excess of Caution in Syria

    Syria is looking more like a collapsed state every day. Nearly a million people have now fled Syria for safety abroad. Meanwhile, the influence of extremist groups, such as the al Nusrah Front, continues to grow as these groups slip into the areas vacated by the Syrian state, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Mar 29, 2013

  • Iranian people living in France protested the 2009 the reelection of Ahmadinejad and the irregularities in the vote count for his main opponent, the reformist Moussavi.

    Commentary

    Iran's Elections to End All Elections

    The June election will not be about mobilizing the Iranian public. It is instead the culmination of a years-long evolution in Iranian politics: the transformation of the Islamic Republic from a mildly representative theocracy into a Revolutionary Guards-controlled kleptocracy, writes Alireza Nader.

    Mar 7, 2013

  • North Korean soldiers attend a rally celebrating the country's third nuclear test at the Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang, February 14, 2013

    Commentary

    North Korea's Third Nuclear Test: A Sign of Weakness, Not Strength

    The ROK and the United States should take actions to deter subsequent North Korean provocations while punishing the country for its nuclear weapon test. Such actions could convince it that the ROK/U.S. are serious and able to impose high costs, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Feb 15, 2013

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shake hands after signing the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) at Prague Castle in Prague, April 8, 2010

    Commentary

    The Challenge of Securing Russian Cooperation in Achieving Further Nuclear Reductions

    Unless the Obama administration can design a strategy that can engage the Russians despite their preconceptions, which have been consistently stated in diplomatic encounters over the past two years, Russia is unlikely to agree to an informal agreement on further reductions, writes Lowell Schwartz.

    Feb 13, 2013

  • Israeli and Iranian flags, weapons, fire

    Commentary

    Khamenei's Mounting Pressures

    Khamenei's mounting pressures may compel him to be more flexible on the nuclear program, writes Alireza Nader. Otherwise, he will face greater sanctions, more internal political opposition, and, possibly, the wrath of his own people.

    Feb 11, 2013

  • Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in New Delhi January 4, 2013

    Q&A

    What Is Iran's Strategy at New Talks?

    Iran is still willing to give diplomacy a chance after a seven-month hiatus, as demonstrated by the announcement of new talks. But Tehran wants the P5+1 to make the first move, writes Alireza Nader.

    Feb 5, 2013

  • nuclear power plant with radioactive sign

    News Release

    RAND Stanton Research Fellows Issue New Studies Examining Nuclear Security Issues

    Three Stanton Nuclear Security Fellows at the RAND Corporation—Robert Reardon, Markus Schiller, and David Kearn—have published new research examining nuclear security issues.

    Oct 2, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Facing the Missile Challenge: U.S. Strategy and the Future of the INF Treaty

    Report assesses whether the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty continues to serve America's national interests, or whether adherence unduly constrains the U.S. ability to effectively respond to emerging security threats.

    Sep 27, 2012

  • Marines and sailors participate in an outdoor gas exercise in full protective gear

    Commentary

    Syria's Chemical Weapons, and Beyond

    Every possible effort toward peaceful resolution and proliferation avoidance, even to the extent of offering safe passage and immunity to reprehensible characters in order to buy the safe transfer and control of such materials, is worth consideration, write James T. Quinlivan and Bruce W. Bennett.

    Jul 26, 2012

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    How to Defuse Iran's Nuclear Threat: Bolster Diplomacy, Israeli Security, and the Iranian Citizenry

    In this June 2012 Congressional Briefing, a panel of RAND experts—Lynn Davis, James Dobbins, and Alireza Nader—discuss nuclear negotiations and the long-term prospects for Iranian relations with Israel and the United States.

    Jun 7, 2012

  • Fabric flags of China and Iran

    Blog

    Examining the Relationship Between China and Iran

    The partnership between China and Iran presents challenges to U.S. interests, including dissuading Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

    May 3, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    The Nature of the Chinese-Iranian Partnership and the Challenges It Poses for the U.S.

    The partnership between China and Iran presents challenges to U.S. interests, including dissuading Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. An analysis of the factors driving Chinese-Iranian cooperation offers policy options for influencing this partnership to meet U.S. objectives.

    May 2, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    Book by Noted Expert Proposes a Renaissance of Thought on Nuclear Deterrence for Today's Strategic Environment

    A new book by the late French scholar Thérèse Delpech provides a critical review and update of nuclear deterrence theory, focusing a critical eye on nuclear issues during the Cold War, examining the lessons of past nuclear crises, and outlining ways in which these lessons apply to major nuclear powers and nuclear pretenders today.

    Apr 17, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Book by Noted Expert Proposes a Renaissance of Thought on Nuclear Deterrence for Today's Strategic Environment

    A new book by the late French scholar Thérèse Delpech provides a critical review and update of nuclear deterrence theory, focusing a critical eye on nuclear issues during the Cold War, examining the lessons of past nuclear crises, and outlining ways in which these lessons apply to major nuclear powers and nuclear pretenders today.

    Mar 27, 2012

  • Iran's Navy commander Habibollah Sayyari points from a naval ship during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran, January 1, 2012

    Commentary

    Iran's Self-Destructive Gamble

    For all its bluster, the Iranian regime is more vulnerable than at any time in its 32-year history. Internally, Iran is constrained by deep political divisions, civil strife and a woeful economy, write Alireza Nader and James Dobbins.

    Jan 6, 2012

  • News Release

    News Release

    Growing Rivalry Between Israel and Iran Poses Danger of Military Conflict

    The United States should engage in activities that increase understanding about how a deterrence relationship between Israel and Iran may evolve, and encourage direct communication between Israelis and Iranians through informal diplomatic channels.

    Jan 4, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Growing Rivalry Between Israel and Iran Poses Danger of Military Conflict

    The United States should engage in activities that increase understanding about how a deterrence relationship between Israel and Iran may evolve, and encourage direct communication between Israelis and Iranians through informal diplomatic channels.

    Jan 4, 2012

  • Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) talks to Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal at the start of a European Union foreign ministers meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, December 1, 2011

    Commentary

    Dissuading Iran from the Bomb and Avoiding War

    By refusing to face more squarely the probability that Iran will eventually acquire a nuclear weapons capability, the American and Israeli governments actually reduce their ability to dissuade Iran from crossing that threshold, writes James Dobbins.

    Dec 2, 2011

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Should Reexamine Policy Options for Dealing with an Iran on the Nuclear Threshold

    An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities by the United States or Israel would make it more, not less difficult to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions. The sympathy aroused for Iran would make containment of Iranian influence much more difficult for Israel, for the U.S., and for the Arab regimes currently allied with Washington.

    Nov 28, 2011