Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War is over, but the United States and Russia still keep thousands of nuclear weapons on alert and in reserve. Understand the issues with our technical and political analysis.


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Latest Nuclear Weapons Posts

President Biden, Nuclear Weapons, and US Security: The First 100 Days

, Washington representative and senior analyst

As President-elect Biden prepares for the enormous responsibility of becoming president of the United States, there is one question I want to ask him: Sir, are you a fan of a nuclear arms race? Because you are being handed one, a burgeoning nuclear and technology arms race waged by Russia, China, and the United States.

The Trump administration has embraced this race, with the president’s chief arms control negotiator declaring that the United States knows “how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion.” (Oblivion? Seriously?) And yet, perhaps surprisingly, it was President Barack Obama who started the wheels churning on all this; his administration lay plans to build new versions of every piece of the oversized US nuclear force structure—new long-range bombers, new land-based missiles, new nuclear-armed submarines, new nuclear-armed cruise missiles, and new versions of the nuclear warheads they carry. Since coming to office, President Trump added to the list a new, lower-yield nuclear warhead, a new submarine-launched cruise missile, and one more new nuclear warhead for submarine-based missiles.

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A Historic Nuclear Ban Treaty Is Set to Become International Law: Here’s What That Means

, Research and policy analyst

On October 24, Honduras became the 50th state to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, also called the nuclear ban treaty. Ninety days from now, the treaty will enter into force as an instrument of international law. This historic treaty is the first comprehensive prohibition of nuclear weapons, placing them alongside biological weapons and chemical weapons as illegitimate tools of war under international law. Read More

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The 2020 Election’s October Surprise Could Be a Crisis in the Taiwan Strait

, China project manager and senior analyst

Earlier this month China sent 18 military aircraft into the skies near Taiwan. This exceptional maneuver came fast on the heels of naval drills near the island and an uptick in Chinese military exercises throughout East Asia.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense issued a stern warning to the United States and Taiwan.

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Is the United States Planning a Nuclear-Armed, Intercontinental-Range, Hypersonic Missile?

, Kendall fellow

Last month the US Air Force accidentally released a document soliciting proposals for upgrades to its Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) now under development and slated to replace the current nuclear-armed ICBM fleet. This document indicated interest in a hypersonic glider modification to the GBSD, prompting speculation that the United States might be planning a nuclear-armed hypersonic missile.

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What is the Secret Agreement between the United States and China on Taiwan?

, China project manager and senior analyst

US President Richard Nixon told Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai the United States recognized Taiwan was a part of China. Nixon made the statement during secret talks conducted during his historic visit to China in 1972. But what Nixon said in secret was intentionally obscured in the joint communiqué the two governments issued after the talks concluded.

This extraordinary act of deception, mistakenly heralded as an act of diplomatic genius, created a long-lived misunderstanding about US policy towards Taiwan that continues to poison US-China relations to this day.

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