A survey of the world today finds the nuclear landscape – from Russia, to North Korea, to India, Pakistan, and China – to be more uncertain and precarious than it has been any time since the end of the Cold War. Yet, even as nuclear dangers seem to be growing, there seems to be deepening discontent with the notion of nuclear deterrence. A growing chorus of voices questions the legitimacy of assurance and deterrence, fracturing what might have been thought at one point to be a consensus between allies. There also seems to be a growing skepticism about the benefits of the internationalist system on which deterrence, and especially extended deterrence, depends.
The Trident system is a key operational component of the NATO deterrent architecture, and without an effective infrastructure to support Trident, NATO may find itself in the new, and unenviable position of relative nuclear weakness.
Both South Korea and Turkey enjoy explicit nuclear guarantees. Yet under the Obama administration, relations with each have lurched to opposite ends of the ‘reassurance spectrum.’ As a result, both feel less secure than they should.
The success of deterrence has become increasingly difficult to measure. While nuclear weapons are still successfully used every day to deter some adversaries the question remains are all adversaries deterred by our nuclear forces?
The third Kim likely hopes to use recent missile activity, and a rumored fifth nuclear test, as an attempt to shore up his image and demonstrate military power in advance of the celebration of his authority. And how has the international community responded? As usual: with sanctions.
The Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) hosted this exclusive panel discussion recounting the formation of the seminal UK Trident Program, featuring four former U.S. and UK national security policymakers present for its negotiation: the Honorable Frank Miller, Sir David Omand, the Honorable Walter B. Slocombe, and Sir Kevin Tebbit. Please watch below as we revisit this momentous chapter of the U.S. and UK’s nuclear partnership, from the Polaris A3 through the Trident II, and examine its implications for the two countries’ special relationship today.
All three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad are aging and will need large-scale, expensive modernization in the coming decades if they are to be maintained. This has prompted a discussion about the continued necessity of the nuclear triad in the post-Cold War era. Is maintaining the triad worth the money?
Australia has been a consistent promoter of disarmament diplomacy and denuclearization. It is unsurprising, then, that it joins the United States in strongly condemning North Korea’s nuclear testing and ambitions.