Experts Say

The Most Dangerous Aspect of Trump’s Nuclear Posture

January 23, 2018
By Michael Krepon

Concerns about the Trump administration’s “pre-decisional’ draft Nuclear Posture Review have rightly focused on the expanded scope for permissible first use of nuclear weapons, new options for downsizing existing yields, and nuclear-armed cruise missile developments. The first is a mug’s game. Threatening first use when you have more to lose than your adversary is senseless; expanding the scope of threatening first use is even more senseless. The second – significantly downsizing the yield of some Trident warheads — presumes that time sensitivity is crucial when it comes to using nuclear weapons. The opposite has proven to be true time and time again, beginning with the Cuban missile crisis. As for cruise missiles, they are a crucial supplement to U.S. power projection capabilities — when they are usable in conflict, not in Armageddon scenarios.
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