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.

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

    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

  • Russian Mi-28N helicopters fly in formation at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    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

  • 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

  • Russian (L and R) and Iranian operators monitor the nuclear power plant unit in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran, November 30, 2009

    Blog

    Defusing Iran's Nuclear Threat

    As nuclear negotiations with Iran resume, they might produce an agreement on interim steps to limit Iranian enrichment and a temporary hold on some international sanctions.

    Jun 14, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Report

    Report

    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

  • 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

  • :An Iranian cleric talks to students who are forming a human chain around the Uranium Conversion Facility to show their support for Iran's nuclear programme in Isfahan, Iran, November 15, 2011, photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Attack Would Only Strengthen Iran's Influence

    Reaction to a strike against Iran among neighboring populations would be almost uniformly hostile. The sympathy thereby 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, writes James Dobbins.

    Nov 16, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Assessing the Effectiveness of the International Counterproliferation Program

    Addressing the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction requires interagency and international cooperation. This report demonstrates how one assessment framework can be applied to security cooperation programs.

    Sep 12, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Early Observations on Possible Defenses by the Emerging Threat Agent Project

    Gaps in defenses against chemical and biological weapon agents can pose a serious risk to U.S. military operations. This paper summarizes early expert observations about the threat and possible responses.

    Jan 19, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Alternative to Futile Negotiations with N.K.

    Clearly, it's time for a new strategy, one that North Korea has been loathe to discuss: hasten Korean unification under South Korea's leadership, writes Bruce Bennett.

    Nov 23, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    This May Be a Key Year, but Alas Not a Decisive One

    As observers laud the new START treaty for bringing back a framework that will make substantial U.S. and Russian nuclear reductions possible, they must recognise that lowering numbers is not the same as stripping nuclear weapons of their values, writes Olga Oliker.

    Aug 1, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Simple Models to Explore Deterrence and More General Influence in the War with al-Qaeda

    Simple, conceptual models can be used to help guide thinking about how to deter or to otherwise influence potential, actual, or disengaging terrorists and the many people who support their organizations directly or indirectly.

    Jul 16, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Local Communities in Afghanistan Can Play Crucial Role in Improving Security

    The Afghan government and NATO can improve security in Afghanistan by leveraging traditional policing institutions in rural villages and mobilizing the population against insurgents. However, action needs to happen quickly to take advantage of a growing amount of local resistance against the Taliban across Afghanistan.

    Jul 9, 2010