What the Democratic frontrunners think about hitting first with nuclear weapons

By Thomas Gaulkin, February 11, 2020

Introducing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists special issue on nuclear weapons policy and the US presidential election, editor in chief John Mecklin wrote: “When it comes to the major American media covering the US presidential election campaign, discussion of nuclear policy seldom happens, and when it does break out, the level of intelligence and sophistication involved is often, to put it politely, wanting.”

But some intrepid buttonholing by the Union of the Concerned Scientists helps fill in where TV debate moderators fear to tread—asking candidates about the US president’s sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, and whether the United States should ever strike with nukes first. The Democratic frontrunners agree, for the most part, but it’s useful to hear how, and also where they differ. You’ll rarely hear it anywhere else.


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Roger Kotila, Ph.D.

We need to move away from “Should we allow first strike with nukes?” to “Should we allow nuclear weapons at all?” It’s time to set the goal post higher: Elimination worldwide all weapons of mass destruction, which requires ending the right to go to war against other nations. Einstein on Peace, a world federalist, knew what we needed to do…form world government. Psychologically, federation is the only real solution. The global system must be radically changed. There is no shortcut. The present UN global system breeds paranoia at every turn. To treat paranoia (and greed), we must establish a “new… Read more »

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