Heather Williams

Este archivo solo abarca los artículos del autor incorporados a este sitio a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2006. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Is This a Sputnik Moment?

Earlier this week, veiled comments started to emerge on Capitol Hill regarding an unnamed and “serious national security threat”. By Thursday, a White House spokesman, John Kirby, let the American public in on what members of Congress were talking about: a new Russian space-based antisatellite capability that violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, suspected of being a space-based nuclear weapon.

Officials say the system is not active, and they have not detailed what it can do. But if it is what the White House suggests, we may now find ourselves facing this generation’s Sputnik moment. In 1957, when the former Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite and shocked Americans, the Eisenhower administration had known about the Soviets’ satellite capabilities for almost two years.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Russian intercontinental ballistic missile system in Moscow, May 2023. Gavriil Grigorov / Sputnik / Reuters

With Russia’s war against Ukraine in its second year and tensions growing in the U.S.-Chinese relationship, nuclear weapons are back on the global political agenda. At a summit in Hiroshima on May 19, G-7 leaders committed to promoting “responsible nuclear behavior”, including risk reduction measures and greater transparency about states’ nuclear arsenals. Despite this renewed attention to the danger of nuclear weapons, traditional arms control—in which nuclear powers formally agree to take steps to reduce their arsenals—has broken down altogether.

There are a host of reasons for this failure. Washington and Moscow are again competing in the nuclear domain. China has meanwhile entered the arms race, making the competition tripolar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Activists march with an inflatable globe during a demonstration against nuclear weapons in Berlin on Nov. 18, 2017. Adam Berry/Getty Images

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is upending one long-standing geopolitical norm after the other, with nuclear arms control potentially one of the next to go. In 2021, the United States and Russia extended the 2010 New START pact—the only remaining major nuclear agreement between the two countries—through 2026. Russia is now threatening to halt U.S. military inspections required under the agreement, but there are challenges for the future of arms control that go beyond the fate of New START.

There are two possible pathways for arms control after Russia’s war in Ukraine. The first, less likely scenario is an arms control renaissance.…  Seguir leyendo »

The authors of this collection consider the most pressing foreign policy challenges for the next US president, and examine how the outcome of the 2020 election will affect these.

The president will determine how the US’s diplomatic, economic and military resources are invested, and what value the administration will attach to existing alliances and multilateral institutions.

Whoever sits in the White House will shape the trajectory of the US–China relationship and the global economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as international cooperation on climate action, international trade and technology policy, and health.


  • The last four years have confirmed that the choices the US makes are highly consequential for international politics.
…  Seguir leyendo »

Seventeen thousand feet above sea level, at the top of the Lake Titicaca basin in Peru, the gray-black slopes sparkle with tiny flakes of gold.

Each day, 40,000 people with pickaxes and crude hydraulic drills work the shaft mines of La Rinconada. Another few thousand toil in teams sifting sand in an open pit mine at the headwaters of the lake's principal tributary.

A gold rush is on in this part of the Andes. New fortunes are made by a few, while many others toil amid mass squalor. Late-model 4x4s and half-million-dollar earthmovers navigate dirt roads past slums of corrugated metal shacks.…  Seguir leyendo »