Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Matthew Kroenig writes for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on global disarmament:
This roundtable supposes a tension between the nuclear powers’ stated disarmament goals and their current plans to modernize their nuclear forces. But does such a tension in fact exist? That depends to a large degree on one’s assumptions about how global disarmament, if achievable, will most likely come about.
Many assume that disarmament will result from a slow, deliberate process in which the nuclear powers sign arms control agreements that gradually reduce the size of nuclear forces—until nuclear weapons no longer exist. This view appears to underlie Eugene Miasnikov and Lu Yin’s Round One essays. Both my roundtable colleagues criticize US modernization plans and argue that the United States should scale back those plans. Lu asserts that the United States (as well as Russia) should follow China’s example in de-emphasizing nuclear weapons. Both authors, meanwhile, raise concerns about US ballistic missile defense and Washington’s conventional Prompt Global Strike program.