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Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project_Assessing the modernization of nuclear postures

  • AUTHORPetr Topychkanov
  • Oct 30, 2020

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Assessing the modernization of nuclear postures

Petr Topychkanov

The article examines the recent decisions taken by central nuclear-armed states to give expanded roles to nuclear weapons in their military plans. The decisions reflect the increased salience of nuclear weapons in their national security strategies. It marks a reversal of the post-cold war trend toward the relative marginalization of nuclear weapons. Political and military leaders in these countries are moving away from the goal of limiting the nuclear weapons role to the sole purpose of deterring aggression with the use of the same type of arms. Instead, they are emphasizing nuclear options to respond to conventional and even cyber-attacks. This lowering of the nuclear threshold coincides with the stagnation of the nuclear arms control. Simultaneously, the political distrust grows between Russia and the USA, NATO, and also between the United States and China.

Keywords: Nuclear weapon; nuclear doctrine; no-first-use; nuclear deterrence; nuclear modernization; arms control