International Security & Defense

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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.