Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Matthew Kroenig writes for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on nuclear deterrence and disarmament:

This roundtable has revealed certain broad areas of agreement among Lu Yin, Eugene Miasnikov, and me. All the authors believe that states should pursue disarmament as stipulated in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—but that nuclear modernization will be necessary as long as nuclear forces exist. Where my colleagues and I differ is primarily on questions of timing and sequencing.

Lu and Miasnikov appear to believe that there is a magical formula for the pace and scope of nuclear modernization efforts that will allow simultaneous deterrence and disarmament. I am skeptical that this is possible, or even that it represents the right way to think about the problem. I believe instead that the United States should field the nuclear arsenal that is necessary to deter present threats to international peace and security. At the same time, all states should work to reduce international tensions so that disarmament might be achieved in the future. If and when these conditions are met, nuclear drawdowns will easily follow.

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