Saturday, February 22, 2014
Geneva Centre for Security Policy convened a conference last year looking at 'Security in A World Without Nuclear Weapons'. One meeting was held in Glion, Switzerland last summer and the report is now out. I contributed a chapter on "Power Balances and the Prospects for a Stable Post-Nuclear Weapons World." I suggested that a post-nuclear weapons world will not be very different for most states because they were not really affected one way or another by nuclear weapons, except indirectly if a nuclear war took place which would affect everybody. But nuclear disarmament would create issues for countries that were defended either directly or indirectly (i.e., with extended deterrence) with nuclear weapons. In some cases, especially for states such as Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, all of which perceive significant conventional threats and for whom nuclear weapons represent the great equalizer, nuclear abolition would create serious problems. I predict that they would be the ones most resistant to nuclear disarmament, should that become a serious possibility. GCSP organized a public discussion in Geneva to launch the report in which I participated.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
India invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to be the Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations, signalling a new closeness in their ties. Most of the commentary in India and around the world noted the strategic significance of the invitation, and the Indian commentariat was uniformly positive. I am somewhat skeptical but not because I don't see the strategic value in the relationship, especially in balancing China. It has to do more with my sense that both governments -- like democracies in general -- tend to look for short-term buck-passing solutions rather than real balancing, which requires a certain clarity, consistency and commitment. A short essay that I wrote on this was posted a couple of days back on the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) website, and is reproduced in full below.
The Limitations of India-Japan Partnership
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's short visit was high on symbolism but both countries need to carefully assess the utility as well as the limits of their partnership. While trade between the two countries have grown dramatically, the primary driver in the relationship has been strategic necessity, their shared concern about an increasingly strong but aggressive China.