A Nuclear Deterrent for the 21st Century

Part of the Global Forecast 2015

The Obama administration's policy from the outset has been to reduce U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons as a near-term step in the long-term pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons. This is easy for the United States to say, because it has the world's strongest military by far. If no one has nuclear weapons, the United States is the nondeterrable “600-pound gorilla.” As Paul Bracken, who coined the term “the second nuclear age,” observed in 2012: “China, Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran hardly desire a world that is ‘safe’ for U.S. strong-arm tactics with conventional forces.” For nations wanting the same freedom of action that our conventional superiority gives us, giving up the nuclear option makes no sense.

Clark A. Murdock

Clark A. Murdock

Former Senior Adviser (Non-resident), International Security Program