Time to write the rules for cyber and drone challenges

Des Browne and Michael Shank published the op-ed ‘Time to write the rules for cyber and drone challenges’ on CNN on 3 February 2014. The full article is available here.

Iran has begun implementing the Joint Plan of Action over its nuclear program. The United States and Russia are cooperating in the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. And the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded late last year to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.” The past few months have clearly underscored what can be achieved when the international community works together on weapons of mass destruction.

But while the response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons and Iran is laudable and should now be leveraged to strengthen international law, treaties and monitoring mechanisms more broadly, the reality is that newer challenges are evolving even as the international community works to get a handle on longstanding threats. And although these threats come in a variety of forms, there are two in particular that will require the same kind of concerted effort.

[Read full article here]

Talkworks Interviews with Paul Rogers and Martin Rees

Professor Paul Rogers, an international terrorism and global security expert, and Lord Rees of Ludlow, a British scientist and cosmologist, were interviewed by Talkworks about their thoughts on the risks posed by nuclear weapons and the chances for nuclear disarmament.

Professor Rogers addresses the major shift in attitude by those who were once proponents of nuclear weapons and now believe that the world must be nuclear weapons free.

Lord Rees outlines his view on the most pressing nuclear concerns today which include further proliferation of weapons, the proliferation of nuclear power and the stability of regimes who possess nuclear weapons such as India and Pakistan.

Lord Howe Looks Back on Years with Margaret Thatcher

In an article published in the London Evening Standard, Lord Howe, TLG Member and former Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, reflects on his time with Baroness Thatcher during her premiership.

During his time as Foreign Secretary, he recollects when the Strategic Arms Reductions Talks (START) were being negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union as well as the first time Baroness Thatcher met Mikhail Gorbachev:

“…I became convinced of the Iron Lady’s sincerity when I presided over her party conference performance in 1983. I heard (and saw) her ad lib three deeply felt sentences: “As I am sure you will understand, there is no one more anxious for genuine disarmament than the person who bears the ultimate responsibility for the nuclear deterrent in our own country. I wanted to say that to you. You will understand how important it is that we try to make those arms reduction talks succeed.”

Margaret’s spontaneity shone through — and for the next year or more we sought a breakthrough. I had no fewer than four meetings with Russia’s dour foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko. Soviet leadership passed, on the death of Andropov, to the feeble cypher Chernenko. Skilful detective work by British diplomats identified the man most likely to succeed him. And so there came about probably the most important meeting in Margaret Thatcher’s career.

Mikhail (and Raisa) Gorbachev arrived at Chequers for lunch on Sunday December 16, 1984. This led straight into four hours of astonishingly direct talking. “We do have to find ways,” said Margaret, “of living together on the same planet.”

The two slipped almost instantly into a pattern of conversation so spontaneous that the process of interpretation became almost invisible. By the end of the day, Margaret had famously identified him as “a man with whom I can do business” (note the “I”).

At the end of that week, in Washington, she persuaded her other soulmate, Ronald Reagan, to take the same view. Her establishment and nurturing of this triangular relationship — and of her own unique influence on the other two protagonists — was her greatest single contribution to the future of our planet.”

To read the full article, please click here.

New Wall Street Journal Op-ed by US Gang of Four

(R-L) Sam Nunn George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry

(R-L) Sam Nunn George Shultz, Henry Kissinger and Bill Perry

Today the Wall Street Journal published a new op-ed by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn in which they argue that nuclear dangers remain all too real and that “the pace of work doesn’t now match the urgency of the threat.”

Today’s joint op-ed is the fifth since their seminal article of January 2007 which renergised the international momentum for further multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and improved nuclear security. The 2007 article inspired several other “Gangs” of senior statemen to make similar calls in their respective countries. This included United Kingdom with the TLG members Douglas Hurd (former Conservative Foreign Secretary), Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP (former Conservative Foreign and Defence Secretary), George Robertson, (former Labour Defence Secretary and NATO secretary-general), and David Owen (former Labour Foreign Secretary and current Liberal Democrat peer) publishing a letter to the Times in June 2008.

The formation of the Top Level Group was inspired by the example of former Secretaries Shultz, Perry, Kissinger and Senator Nunn. The TLG commends their dedication to reducing the world’s nuclear dangers.

To read the Wall Street Journal article in full, please visit to the Nuclear Threat Initiative website at http://www.nti.org.