Nuclear modernization has returned to the forefront of international security. In the recently published book Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century, edited by Aiden Warren and Philip Baxter, the Scowcroft Center’s Matthew Kroenig and Christian Trotti have written a chapter on “Modernization as a Promoter of International Security: The Special Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons.” They argue that underlying geopolitical conditions and dispositions shape the specific character of various countries’ nuclear modernization programs. Accordingly, some programs are more destabilizing than others. As the architect and guarantor of the current global system since World War II, US nuclear weapons have uniquely underpinned international security, and therefore require modernization today.
[N]ot all modernization programs are created equal.