Neither MAD Nor Even: Looking Beyond Trump’s Missile Defense Review

What has been overlooked in discussions of the Missile Defense Review so far is whether we are still asking the right questions about the role that missile defence plays in reducing nuclear dangers. Read more

ORG Explains #5: NATO Nuclear Sharing

This primer explains the role US-owned B61 tactical nuclear weapons play in Europe as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements. It considers these weapons in terms of their economic, political, diplomatic and security significance, including internal NATO dynamics, US-Russia relations and international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament regimes. Read more

The Kim/Trump Summit and Implications for Iran

Trump’s esoteric approach to diplomacy produced surprising outcomes at his June summit with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore. In response, Iranian hardliners have made a surprising move on ballistic missiles, potentially signalling that they fancy their chances in bilateral negotiations with the great American deal-maker. Read more

Trump and Bolton: Making a Greater American Century?

The last month has seen dramatic upheavals among the key personnel within the Trump administration tasked with advising the president on foreign affairs and national security policy. Trump has sought a wider range of policy options on Iran and North Korea and he is now likely to get them from a more hawkish team, increasing the possibility of new US regime change operations. This briefing compares current events to the rise of the Neo-Conservative agenda in 1997-2002. Read more

Nuclear Posture Review: Sliding Towards Nuclear War?

North Korea and Russia may be the focus of contemporary Western fears of imminent nuclear-armed conflict but development and deployment of “useable” nuclear weapons has been a constant throughout the atomic age and by all nuclear-armed states. Read more

Limited Nuclear Wars – Myth and Reality

The dramatic recent escalation of rhetoric and military posturing on the Korean peninsula has reawakened suggestions that the United States could use relatively low-yield nuclear weapons in a limited or tactical operation to neutralise North Korea. Indeed, both the idea of nuclear ‘first strike’ and their ‘flexible’ usage on and off the ‘battlefield’ are deeply rooted in historic and current NATO and UK doctrine on nuclear weapons. Read more

What does North Korea want?

US-led war games may look like a defensive manoeuver to us, but from North Korea‘s perspective they do not look the same. Read more

After Mosul: Islamic State’s Asian and African Future

After three years and over 22,000 air strikes, the Levantine ‘Caliphate’ manifestation of the Islamic State seems destined for destruction in 2017. Yet the revolt of radicalised Sunni Arabs is unlikely to abate in Iraq or Syria, with the battlefield shifting to localised guerrilla insurgency, increasing attacks within western states, and the opening of new fronts in the global margins, not least Asia and Africa. Read more

Trump, North Korea and the Risk of War

April has seen the inexperienced Trump Administration further escalate US military activities from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan and Yemen. Read more

Sustainable Security in the Trump Era

Is the Trump era likely to make a major difference to the global security outlook or is it more likely that realities of international relations will limit the capacity for the change Trump seeks? Read more

President Trump: Successor to the Nuclear Throne

In order to consider what we can expect from a Trump presidency, as well as noting whom Trump empowers as members of his cabinet and those whom he draws on for advice, it is vital to study the track record of recent administrations and appreciate the powers Trump will inherit. In doing so this briefing focuses on the question of what a Trump presidency might mean for international relations with a focus on nuclear arms, including doctrine and disarmament. Read more

Open Letter to the Prime Minister on Trident Replacement Debate

Oxford Research Group has today sent a letter to the new Prime Minister, signed by former military commanders, senior academic, diplomatic and political figures and other leading NGOs, calling on her to delay any decision on replacing the UK’s nuclear weapons system until after parliament’s summer recess. Read more

The UK’s Nuclear Future: Options between Rearmament and Disarmament

This briefing considers whether the UK’s future as a nuclear weapons state is under threat over three parts. The first considers the current status of plans to replace the UK’s nuclear weapons system, the second reviews the Labour party’s troubles in formulating a policy on this subject, while the third investigates the spectrum of options, from full replacement to full disarmament, currently available to the UK. Read more

The Politics of British Nuclear Disarmament

The post-election debate on replacing the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is welcome and necessary but so far has not dealt with the underlying political meaning of the UK being a nuclear weapon state (NWS) and what it would mean for it to disarm. Read more

Beyond Deterrence: Rethinking UK Security Doctrine

This article by ORG’s founder and patron, Scilla Elworthy, is based on a keynote address given to the “Making Deterrence work in the Twenty-first Century” forum held at Merton College, Oxford, 15 July 2015, hosted by the Ministry of Defence’s Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) and the University of Oxford Changing Character of War Programme Read more

The United States and Iran: A Complex Relationship

With heavy involvement in the Iraqi Army’s attacks on Islamic State forces in Tikrit, Iran has greatly consolidated its influence in Iraq, especially as US air power has not so far been used in this attack. Read more

Iran: The Significance of Fordo

The ongoing development work at the heavily protected Fordo nuclear fuel enrichment site near Qom in Iran is highly significant in changing the terms of the evolving crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme. Open source intelligence now suggests that Fordo is a core part of the Iranian post-attack recovery capability. This has major implications for policy formulation for the longer-term resolution of the crisis, as it could potentially change the diplomatic balance. Read more

The Political Context of the Iran Crisis

Over the past three months a sense of impending crisis has developed over the risk of an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Read more

The Strategic Defence Review – Rearguard Actions and Missing the Point

How does the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review measure up to Britain’s potential role in furthering the concept of sustainable security? Read more

Progress in Part

The early part of April saw some valuable progress on nuclear weapons issues but, while this was a welcome change from recent years, developments in Afghanistan threatened to lead to renewed concerns over stability in that country. Read more

Secure Energy? Civil Nuclear Power, Security and Global Warming

This report asks two questions: how dangerous is nuclear power? And can it help reduce CO2 emissions? The short answer to the first questions is ‘very’: nuclear power is uniquely dangerous when compared to other energy sources. For the second question the answer is ‘not enough and not in time’. Read more