Middlebury Institute of International Studies
May 2020
New COVID-19 Resources: Developments, Threats, and Thoughts
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting virtually every aspect of all of our lives. From the global opportunities for biosecurity and public health systems, to the very personal losses and struggles, this month's updates to our pandemic portal endeavor to educate, share, warn, and inspire. New content includes:

Be sure to visit the COVID-19 web portal for more updates, including the recorded 5/27 webinar from Dr. Pilch on the status and prospects for containing the virus and preventing the next pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Inkstick Media .
Not Dead Yet: The Postponement of the 10th NPT Review Conference
With the 10th Review Conference of states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) postponed until January 2021 (at least), diplomats, policy makers, and experts are seeking to determine how to benefit from the additional time, and what the pandemic itself reveals about nuclear weapons, security, and crisis management.

Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova , director of the International Organizations Nonproliferation Program, now based at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, examines the various contingencies that governments need to prepare for in the run-up to the postponed Review Conference.

  • For more on the challenges and opportunities facing the Tenth Review Conference, join us for a webinar on May 28, 11 AM EST. Register here.
A Worrisome Turn for Iran's Space Ambitions
On April 22,  Iran successfully launched its first military satellite , Noor, using the new Qased Space Launch Vehicle (SLV). With the launch of the Qased, Iran has unveiled its parallel space program run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Corps (IRGC) for the first time. While fears about Iran’s previous space launches serving as cover for ICBM development have been vastly overblown, there are strong indications that Iran’s emerging IRGC track does indeed represent a hedging strategy aimed at acquiring long-range ballistic missile technology.

Writing for the European Leadership Network, Research Associate Fabian Hinz discusses what makes the Qased program and the April 22 launch new and different, and how Western decision makers should best respond.
What the DPRK Economy Tells Us about its Nuclear Program
The better the state of North Korean economy, the lower the chance that the country will proliferate or use nuclear weapons.

This is one of the main takeaways of the first VCDNP webinar entitled “Update on the Economy: How Desperate is North Korea?,” held on May 8, 2020, featuring Professor Dr. Rüdiger Frank of the University of Vienna, with introductory remarks by VCDNP Executive Director Elena K. Sokova.

Dr. Frank discussed the relationship between the DPRK economy, the stability of the political regime, its nuclear program, and prospects for nonproliferation.
Another One Bites the Dust? Open Skies and the Future of Arms Control
The Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty is the latest blow to the global arms-control architecture.

The United States has long expressed concerns about Russia's compliance with the treaty, although experts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies believe that "withdrawal does nothing to lower the likelihood of accidental war," according to  Eurasia Program Director Sarah Bidgood .

But "the real effect for security will depend on what comes next," Senior Fellow Miles Pomper told Sputnik News . Whether European states remain in the treaty depends on Russia's reaction. "As long as Russia participates fully, the Europeans will have reasons to continue doing so as well," Senior Research Associate Joshua Pollack said. "If Russia should also withdraw... then the treaty may be reduced to a dead letter."

Meanwhile, as the dismantlement of treaties continues, the rate of bomb dismantlement has fallen. Check out NTI's #DismantleBombsNotTreaties campaign—replete with an augmented reality interactive—co-created by Anne Pellegrino and Jamie Withorne .

James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

460 Pierce Street
Monterey, CA 93940 USA
Campus Map   

Email: cns@miis.edu
Phone: +1 (831) 647-4154
Fax: +1 (831) 647-3519

Press inquiries: cns.media@miis.edu