Statesmen such as William Perry and Mikhail Gorbachev are growing increasingly concerned about global nuclear tensions. Their concern springs in large measure from the nuclear modernizations being conducted by all major nuclear powers. The United States has embarked on a trillion-dollar modernization program – motivated partly by Russia’s increasing aggressiveness abroad and by indications that Vladimir Putin might be willing to use nuclear weapons. Donald Trump, meanwhile, makes erratic, inconsistent, and impulsive statements about nuclear weapons, causing many to argue that his sole authority to launch these weapons should be taken away. Nuclear tensions will be dampened somewhat by fiscal pressures in both Washington and Moscow and by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Nonetheless, the United States should reduce nuclear dangers by paring down some aspects of its modernization program; agreeing to extend New START; adopting a no-first-use policy and ending hair-trigger alert for nuclear weapons; better educating Donald Trump about arms control agreements and nuclear risks; and stopping or slowing plans for ballistic missile defense installations in Poland and Romania.
The Bulletin elevates expert voices above the noise. But as an independent, nonprofit media organization, our operations depend on the support of readers like you. Help us continue to deliver quality journalism that holds leaders accountable. Your support of our work at any level is important. In return, we promise our coverage will be understandable, influential, vigilant, solution-oriented, and fair-minded. Together we can make a difference.