Nuclear Issues

284 Items

In this photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, Russian troops load an Iskander missile as part of drills to train the military for using tactical nuclear weapons at an undisclosed location in Russia

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

Journal Article - International Security

When Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Adversary Perceptions of Nuclear No-First-Use Pledges

| Spring 2024

Would the world be safer if the United States pledged to never use nuclear weapons first? Supporters say a credible pledge would strengthen crisis stability, decrease hostility, and bolster nonproliferation and arms control. But reactions to no-first-use pledges by the Soviet Union, China, and India suggest that adversaries perceive pledges as credible only when the political relationship between a state and its adversary is already relatively benign, or when the state’s military has no ability to engage in nuclear first use against the adversary. 

Members of the Taiwanese Marines stand guard on the assault craft

AP/Christopher Bodeen

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

Strategic Myopia: The Proposed First Use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons to Defend Taiwan

| Mar. 14, 2024

David Kearn argues that the idea that the first use of nuclear weapons since 1945 would be by the United States in the defense of Taiwan against a conventional Chinese invasion would have significant, negative, and long-lasting, diplomatic ramifications. It is difficult to fathom the myriad potential consequences, but U.S. nuclear weapon use would almost certainly shatter the non-proliferation regime as a functioning entity, incentivize states (including China) to acquire or improve their existing nuclear arsenal, and damage America's standing globally.

Visitors tour past military vehicles carrying the Dong Feng 41 and DF-17 ballistic missiles at an exhibition highlighting President Xi Jining and his China's achievements under his leadership, at the Beijing Exhibition Hall in Beijing on Oct. 12, 2022.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

China’s Misunderstood Nuclear Expansion: How U.S. Strategy Is Fueling Beijing’s Growing Arsenal

    Authors:
  • M. Taylor Fravel
  • Henrik Stålhane Hiim
  • Magnus Langset Trøan
| Nov. 10, 2023

Among the many issues surrounding China’s ongoing military modernization, perhaps none has been more dramatic than its nuclear weapons program. For decades, the Chinese government was content to maintain a comparatively small nuclear force. As recently as 2020, China’s arsenal was little changed from previous decades and amounted to some 220 weapons, around five to six percent of either the U.S. or Russian stockpiles of deployed and reserve warheads.

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Bali

Alex Brandon | AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Despite Rumors of War, the U.S. and China Can Manage Their Relationship

| June 14, 2023

As the Biden administration and Congress struggle to get their heads around the challenge posed by China today, they should reflect on lessons learned in America’s success in winning the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Just because fundamental and irresolvable differences in values and interests compel the United States and China to be formidable rivals does not mean a hot war is a viable option.

Visitors tour past military vehicles carrying the Dong Feng 41 and DF-17 ballistic missiles at the Beijing Exhibition Hall in Beijing on Oct. 12, 2022.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Journal Article - International Security

The Dynamics of an Entangled Security Dilemma: China’s Changing Nuclear Posture

    Authors:
  • Henrik Stålhane Hiim
  • M. Taylor Fravel
  • Magnus Langset Trøan
| Spring 2023

Chinese strategists increasingly believe that U.S. nonnuclear strategic capabilities threaten China’s nuclear forces. Although there is limited evidence of a shift in its nuclear strategy, China is changing its strategic posture to ensure its second-strike capability, including by relying on advanced conventional weapons (e.g., counterspace capabilities, cyber weapons, and electronic warfare) that can target U.S. missile defense. The dynamics of a nuclear-conventional entangled security dilemma may weaken arms race stability.

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Analysis & Opinions - PRISM - National Defense University

The 21st Century's Great Military Rivalry

| September 30, 2022

A quarter-century ago, China conducted what it called “missile tests” bracketing the island of Taiwan to deter it from a move toward independence by demonstrating that China could cut Taiwan’s ocean lifelines. In response, in a show of superiority that forced China to back down, the United States deployed two aircraft carriers to Taiwan’s adjacent waters. If China were to repeat the same missile tests today, it is highly unlikely that the United States would respond as it did in 1996. If U.S. carriers moved that close to the Chinese mainland now, they could be sunk by the DF-21 and DF-26 missiles that China has since developed and deployed. This article presents three major theses concerning the military rivalry between China and the United States in this century.

A type 094A Jin-class nuclear submarine Long March 10 of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China's PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province, April 23, 2019.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Then What? Assessing the Military Implications of Chinese Control of Taiwan

| Summer 2022

An analysis of Taiwan’s military value concludes that its reunification with China would improve Chinese submarine warfare and ocean surveillance capabilities, tipping the military balance in China’s favor. These findings have important implications for U.S. operational planning, policy, and grand strategy.