The Rising Powers Initiative (RPI) project components are as follows:

  • Policy Alerts and Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest

    In early 2013, the RPI started publishing and distributing Policy Alerts and Nuclear Debates in Asia Digests, which offered policy assessments and updates on events and issues related to the project’s study.

    Policy Alerts and Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest Archive:

    September 2014 – India-Japan New Strategic Partnership Prompts Reactions from Asian Powers

    June 2014Cooperation Expands Between Iran and Asian Powers as Nuclear Talks Continue

    April 2014Rising Powers React to Nuclear Security Summit

    February 2014 – Asian Powers Wrestle Over Nuclear Security in Asia

    December 2013 – Asian Powers React to Iran-P5+1 Nuclear Deal

    April 2013 – What to Do with Nuclear Waste? Domestic Debates in Japan and South Korea

    April 2013 China’s Nuclear Energy Technology Sales to Pakistan

    March 2013India Eyes Membership Debate at Nuclear Suppliers Group

    February 2013South Korea – New Government, Old Nuclear Debates

  • Book

    The project’s major product was a book — The Nuclear Debate in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2016) on the domestic nuclear debates in Asia, including studies on China, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and ASEAN.

    The book identified the key actors and institutions driving nuclear debates in each country, placed these actors and debates into a constructive analytical framework based on “schools of thought,” and tested how these groups align on nuclear issues with expectations drawn from the different schools.

    Praise for the Book:

    For those of us struggling to understand and anticipate the future of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons programs in Asia, this deeply insightful and timely book reveals the critical role played by domestic forces in the region. Its contributors know well the domestic scene that is driving nuclear outcomes in each of the countries, and they make a persuasive case that these internal forces eclipse external geopolitical forces in shaping Asia’s nuclear future. This essential volume sheds new light on the Asian nuclear landscape.

    Bruce Blair, Princeton University

    This must-read book assembles a veritable who’s who of nuclear experts on Asia. The volume skillfully opens the black box of domestic politics across Asian nations with nuclear energy and nuclear weapons programs, tracking the balance of Nationalists, Realists, and Globalists in each and analyzing how domestic political configurations affect the nuclear policies of these Asian nations—states that comprise the most dynamic terrain in the global nuclear landscape. Each chapter should be read by anyone who cares not only about the respective state’s nuclear policies, but how it is in fact domestic politics driving them, a factor whose emphasis in these countries is long overdue.

    Vipin Narang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Warning against relying on state-centric assumptions that seem more a matter of faith than empirical evidence, the volume finds that elusive ‘geopolitical’ factors are not decisive. Domestic politics mediate their actual impact. A welcome corrective for improving our understanding of nuclear futures.

    Etel Solingen, University of California Irvine

  • Blog

    Regular blog posts on topics related to the project will be published on the RPI Blog.

    Click here to access Nuclear Debates in Asia blog entries.


  • Web-Based Resources

    In addition to a presence on the RPI Blog, the RPI website, and on Twitter (@westmyer), the project includes a research database that will be updated regularly to provide user-friendly access to scholarly and policy relevant articles and books on the current nuclear debates in Asia.

    Click here to access the research database. You can use the filters on the left side of the page to narrow down your research interest.


  • Policy Briefs

    RPI will publish Policy Briefs – detailed but concise policy assessments based on the findings of this project study – to inform US policymakers and media professionals of the ongoing nuclear debates.

    Policy Brief Archive:

    07/2015 – Iran Nuclear Deal: The Promise and the Peril, by Rajesh Rajagopalan

    10/2014 – Can ASEAN Sell Its Nuclear Free Zone to the Nuclear Club?, by Catharin Dalpino

    09/2013 – How the Pakistan Military Learned to Love the Bomb, by Christopher Clary

  • Policy Briefings and Events

    RPI will convene a number of policy and media briefings and events to educate policymakers and media professionals on the findings of this study.

    October 11, 2016

    Nuclear Debates in Asia Book Launch


    Tuesday, October 11, 2016
    12:45 PM – 2:30 PM
    The Elliott School of International Affairs
    1957 E Street, NW; Room 505
    Washington, DC 20052

    This important book – the culmination of a two-year study by scholars at the Sigur Center’s Rising Powers Initiative – analyzes nuclear weapon and energy policies in Asia, a region at risk for high-stakes military competition, conflict, and terrorism. The contributors explore the trajectory of debates over nuclear energy, security, and nonproliferation in key countries: China, India, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and other states in ASEAN. Arguing against conventional wisdom, the contributors make a convincing case that domestic variables are far more powerful than external factors in shaping nuclear decision making.

    A select group of the book’s authors will speak at the event on what drives these discussions, where the center of gravity of debates lies in each country, and what this means for regional cooperation or competition and U.S. nuclear energy and nonproliferation policy in Asia.

    • Mike M. Mochizuki, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at GWU
    • Deepa M. Ollapally, Research Professor of International Affairs and Director of Rising Powers Initiative at GWU
    • Scott Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea studies and Director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations
    • Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs at GWU

    January 22, 2014

    The Rising Powers Initiative co-hosted a “Nuclear Perspectives in Asia Workshop” in Hanoi, Vietnam along with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USH) at Vietnam National University – Hanoi. Click here to view the agenda and additional information on the trip.

    November 14, 2013

    RPI and IERES co-sponsored a conference on Central Asia and the Nuclear Landscape in Asia. Authors in the Nuclear Debates in Asia project actively participated in the event and a summary of the proceedings can be found by clicking here.


    October 2, 2013

    RPI teamed up with the National Bureau of Asian Research for the launch of their book, Strategic Asia 2013-14: Asia in the Second Nuclear Age. Authors in the Nuclear Debates in Asia project actively participated in the event and a summary of the proceedings can be found by clicking here. You can listen to the audio by clicking the following links: Event Audio Part I and Event Audio Part II.