Patricia Lewis

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de diciembre de 2007. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

HMS Astute nuclear submarine, equipped with cruise missiles and torpedoes, has more firepower than any previous British attack submarine. Photo by BAE Systems via Getty Images.

Technology and cyber threats

Dr Beyza Unal

The announcement mentions developing joint capabilities and information and technology sharing across the UK, US, and Australia and picks up on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and quantum communications.

As part of this defence agreement, the UK, US, and Australia are aiming to protect the undersea fibre optic cables that provide part of the military and civilian communication for the West. Both Russia and China possess cyber and submarine technology. They could tap into these cables, allowing for eavesdropping and collecting data through cyber means. It is a matter of national and of NATO Alliance’s security to protect undersea cables.…  Seguir leyendo »

Flowers at the monument in New York for victims of the 9/11 attacks. Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

In the weeks following the 9/11 attacks, analysts said everything was going to change and they were proved right. Just as the decades following the two world wars were heavily influenced by their outcomes and atrocities, the ‘war on terror’ has been the backdrop and set the tone for most international interactions for the past 20 years.

And yet just weeks before the attacks, two international arms control measures were coming to a head at the United Nations (UN) which – without the impact of 9/11 – could have changed the future history of arms control for the better. But as the world changed course, both measures ended up creating major repercussions still being played out now.…  Seguir leyendo »

A US soldier stands with a bouquet of flowers among headstones of those killed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Afghanistan goals were laudable but open-ended

Sir Simon Fraser

The outcome in Afghanistan should not have been a surprise, even if the way it happened was a shock. For foreign policy in general, and foreign military interventions in particular, it is essential to be clear about goals and the capacity to deliver. In Afghanistan, the US and its allies have fallen short on both these counts.

This is a serious reversal for the US and its closest allies, but not a strategic disaster. The threat from Islamist terror will increase, but its significance is sometimes exaggerated and, to some extent, can be addressed by other means.…  Seguir leyendo »

Examining a patient while testing for COVID-19 at the Velocity Urgent Care in Woodbridge, Virginia. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

A controversial debate during COVID-19 is the state of readiness within governments and health systems for a pandemic, with lines of the debate drawn on the issues of testing provision, personal protective equipment (PPE), and the speed of decision-making.

President Macron in a speech to the nation admitted French medical workers did not have enough PPE and that mistakes had been made: ‘Were we prepared for this crisis? We have to say that no, we weren’t, but we have to admit our errors … and we will learn from this’.

In reality few governments were fully prepared. In years to come, all will ask: ‘how could we have been better prepared, what did we do wrong, and what can we learn?’.…  Seguir leyendo »

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty (OST) is the mainframe for space law. It recognizes the importance of the use and scientific exploration of outer space for the benefit and in the interests of all countries. It also prohibits national sovereignty in space, including of the Moon and other celestial bodies.

The OST prohibits all weapons of mass destruction in space – in orbit or on other planets and moons – and does not allow the establishment of military infrastructure, manoeuvres or the testing of any type of weapon on planets or moons. As the treaty makes clear, outer space is for peaceful purposes only.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan shake hands after signing the INF Treaty in 1987. Photo: Getty Images.

Although the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the US and Russia, the recent threat from the US to withdraw from the long-standing, highly successful agreement is not an issue that should be decided only between the two countries.

We are all affected by the US–Russia relationship in its highs and its lows. Their security dialogue is a global security discussion. US nuclear weapons systems are part of NATO’s weapons systems and nuclear arms control agreements between the two states affect everyone in the world. Most significantly, any use of nuclear weapons that resulted from a conflict between them would have disastrous impacts for the whole planet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pyongyang in July. Photo: Getty Images.

On the anniversary of the US nuclear bomb attack on Nagasaki in 1945, rhetoric from both Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump has one again raised the spectre of nuclear war in the Pacific.

Nuclear weapons have not been used in conflict since the end of the Second World War – although many have been exploded as part of weapons development and testing programmes. They are qualitatively different from other weapons. Because the energy in the atomic nucleus is much larger than the energy in chemical bonds, nuclear explosions have far greater impacts than conventional explosives. This is why one nuclear bomb could destroy a city such as Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nighttime view of the strait of Gibraltar. Photo by NASA

Space is a vital part of national and international infrastructures. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, humanity has been using space for the purposes of communications, monitoring our environment, tracking the planets in the solar system and the stars in the galaxies, proving data for global positioning, navigation and timing, and conducting vital scientific experiments. We are increasingly dependent on the global space-based satellite constellations for the workings of the national and international infrastructure such as the piloting of aircrafts, navigation at sea, military manoeuvres, financial transactions and internet and phone communications.

Two recent developments in China – the launch of a ‘quantum satellite’ designed to transmit hack-proof keys from space and its loss of control of the space station Tiangong-1 – highlight the security challenges, and dangers, space presents.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thirteen years ago, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Up until the end of 2015, it had since conducted three underground nuclear test blasts, despite strict international sanctions aimed at its nuclear programme and almost universal condemnation of each test.

But last week, it made its most dramatic claim yet - that it had tested a hydrogen bomb. And regardless of whether it was truly an H-bomb (and there is considerable skepticism over whether it was) decision-makers cannot relax - there are still serious long-term implications to what took place this week.

As with all new nuclear weapons possessors, North Korea first developed fission bombs, which are based on the process of heavy nuclei (such as uranium and plutonium) splitting into fragments, releasing large amounts of energy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thirteen years ago, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Up until last week, it had since conducted three underground nuclear test blasts, despite strict international sanctions aimed at its nuclear program and almost universal condemnation of each test.

But on Wednesday, it made its most dramatic claim yet -- that it had tested a hydrogen bomb. And regardless of whether it was truly an H-bomb (and there is considerable skepticism over whether it was) decision makers cannot relax -- there are still serious long-term implications to what took place this week.

As with all new nuclear weapons possessors, North Korea first developed fission bombs, which are based on the process of heavy nuclei (such as uranium and plutonium) splitting into fragments, releasing large amounts of energy.…  Seguir leyendo »