Provocations

Germany’s Nuclear Education: Why a Few Elites Are Testing a Taboo

by Tristan Volpe and Ulrich Kühn
Days after the 2016 U.S. election, a small group of German experts began to publicly debate whether Berlin should pursue one of three nuclear options. Although the debate was short-lived, there is evidence that each may have begun to bring one or more verboten topics out of the shadows and could, over time, amount to a fundamental change of Germany’s national identity.

Whither ISIS? Insights from Insurgent Responses to Decline

by Paul Staniland
How will ISIS respond to recent setbacks? By examining fifteen other major insurgent organizations that faced decline, this study suggests that ISIS will likely survive even devastating territorial losses, and identifies three potential trajectories for the organization, and the conditions likely to lead to each.

Networking Security in Asia

by Richard Fontaine
The next phase of U.S. strategy toward Asia should focus on embedding America’s alliances and nascent security relationships into a broader network of security partnerships, which is particularly appealing to countries like Australia and Japan.

Nuclear South Asia Grows On

Safer at Sea? Pakistan’s Sea-Based Deterrent and Nuclear Weapons Security

by Christopher Clary and Ankit Panda
Its January 2017 missile test demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment to develop sea-based nuclear weapons in the coming decade. While some argue this could enhance deterrence, it may increase the dangers of higher readiness and unauthorized use; the risks of inadvertent escalation, preemption, and crisis stability; and the threat of theft or sabotage.

Pakistan’s Tactical Nukes: Relevance and Options for India

by Arka Biswas
Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons has raised questions about two elements of India’s nuclear doctrine. While the issue of no-first-use has gathered much of the public attention, that debate is misplaced. It is not India’s NFU policy, but its massive retaliation posture that fails to credibly deter or counter Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons.

India’s Ballistic Missile Defense: Implications for South Asian Deterrence Stability

by Zafar Khan
Two high-altitude interceptor tests earlier this year and an ongoing debate about Indian nuclear doctrine raise questions about the rationale for India’s pursuit of a ballistic missile defense shield, potential countermeasures Pakistan could develop, and the strategic implications for South Asian deterrence stability.

IRAN: WHAT NEXT...?

FALL 2017  |  Volume 40  |  Number 3

Assessing U.S.–Iran Nuclear Engagement

by Seyed Hossein Mousavian and Sina Toossi
The former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators coauthors his views of nuclear engagement from 2013-16 and the valuable lessons for how the two longtime foes can successfully approach each other on other matters in the future, should they decide to do so, and both meet their core objectives.

Countering Iran

by Kenneth M. Pollack and Bilal Y. Saab
Confronting Iran is not a choice, but a necessity borne of the Iranian regime’s persistent enmity toward the United States and all of its key regional partners. After comparing the options to address Iran’s regional challenge, the authors make the case for a U.S. strategy of “pushback,” evaluating its pros, cons, and alternatives.

Iran’s Uncertain Standing in the Middle East

by Shahram Akbarzadeh
Iran has pursued its regional ambitions through two distinct and contradictory avenues. While simultaneously cultivating sub-state actors to counter ISIS and building an international coalition with Russia to stabilize Assad in Syria have both helped Iran achieve its objectives in the short run, its regional standing is likely to be undermined in the long run for two reasons.

Cooperating with Iran to Combat ISIS in Iraq

by Ariane Tabatabai and Dina Esfandiary
Despite significant operational progress against ISIS, ultimately the United States’ and Iran’s ability to maintain these gains in Iraq will remain limited unless the two adversaries can work together on a more strategic level in Iraq and reach their respective objectives through collaboration.

Behind the Headlines

U.S. Strategy in an Age of Nationalism: Fortress America and its Alternatives

Hal Brands
American grand strategy will clearly have a more nationalistic flavor in years to come, but what might that entail? One model is "Fortress America," which represents a path to superpower suicide and a disordered world, but there is a more benign and constructive version, asserting U.S. interests without dismantling the post-war order. It looks like this...

Preserving the Post-War Order

by Michael J. Mazarr
The more important role of the post-1945 international order has not been to create treaties, norms, or even institutions, but to consolidate a group of over 40 states, and an accompanying web of non-state actors, that are a stabilizing gravitational core of the international system. Six fundamental elements of a U.S. grand strategy for the coming decade can help shore up that guiding coalition.

Has Modi Truly Changed India’s Foreign Policy?

by Sumit Ganguly
Prime Minister Modi has now completed more than half his term. While he has brought renewed energy to foreign policy and made important departures in some areas, particularly his deafening silence on nonalignment, he has mostly deepened and broadened existing ties.

Contemplating China’s Future

by David Shambaugh
As diminishing economic returns have set in, China is approaching a series of turning points on its transformative path. If China stays on its current road, atrophy and the protracted political decline of the CCP would result, although not its collapse. There are, however, three alternative paths for China.

Belligerent Minimalism: the Trump Administration and the Middle East

by Marc Lynch
As has been true for decades, the structural realities of the Middle East are likely to defeat any efforts by the Trump administration to transform the U.S. role in the region. But the greatest question of all will not be about strategy, but whether Trump rethinks any of the five U.S. interests that have remained stable for 60 years.

Inside the Iran Deal: a French Perspective

by Laurent Fabius
The then-French Foreign Minister (2012–2016) provides a fascinating insider’s account of the monumental effort from experts, diplomats, scientists, and other leaders to successfully negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran—including France’s reaction upon discovering the existence and substance of the secret U.S.–Iran talks in Oman—and draws his lessons learned, including the vigilance still required to ensure implementation.