arms control


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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Fitting Hypersonic Weapons into the Nuclear Arms Control Regime

, Kendall fellow

Former President Barack Obama signed the instrument of ratification of the New START Treaty in the Oval Office on Feb. 2, 2011. The only active treaty limiting the deployment of US and Russian nuclear weapons, New START does not explicitly restrict hypersonic missiles.

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Setting the Record Straight on Hypersonic Weapons

, Kendall fellow

Recent reports would have you believe that hypersonic weapons—an emerging class of low-altitude, high-speed missiles—are poised to revolutionize modern military strategy. A recent op-ed in the New York Times characterized these “game-changing” missiles as the “apotheosis” of airborne weaponry, capable of feats that “no missile can currently achieve.” This fantastical depiction, which underpins a race among the major military powers to develop these weapons, is part of a long pattern of media hype.

But are these weapons really so revolutionary? Will they upend the global security environment? And does their arrival make conflict between United States, Russia, and China inevitable?

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Have I got a Deal for you! Let’s get this STARTed.

, Washington representative and senior analyst

President Trump claims to be a deal-maker. Russian President Putin has offered him a deal that no reasonable person would turn down – the chance to ensure that the United States and Russia continue to both limit the size of their nuclear arsenals and allow an array of verification measures that allows the two countries to have confidence in what the other is doing. Read more >

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Pope Francis Condemns Nuclear Deterrence

, China project manager and senior analyst

Pope Francis turns to bless the rosary of a Japanese peace activist before speaking in Nagasaki on Sunday, November 24, 2019.

The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics came to Nagasaki to deliver a sermon on nuclear weapons.

Together with Japanese colleagues working to eliminate those weapons, I waited in a steady rain as Pope Francis offered a long silent prayer in front of the black obelisk marking the epicenter of the nuclear explosion that obliterated the city on August 9, 1945. The visibly shaken pontiff then turned towards us and issued an unequivocal repudiation of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Read more >

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