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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