January Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Highlights Nuclear Weapons Modernization

The Russian [nuclear] modernization program was spurred by the US withdrawal, under President George W. Bush in 2002, from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which Moscow had for four decades regarded as a central pillar of strategic stability. Moscow’s subsequent failure to reach a new agreement with the United States on missile defenses, and the collapse by 2011 of Putin’s hopes for building a joint Russia-US/NATO missile defense system in Europe made nuclear modernization a top defense priority for the Russian leadership.  – Dimiti Trenin (article excerpt)

The January 2019 issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is entitled Spotlight on Nuclear Modernization (Journal Volume 75, Issue 1).  For the month of January only, the full issue is accessible free of charge from Taylor and Francis online.  This is an exceptional opportunity to read about dangerous new trends in American nuclear policy and how Russia and China are reacting to them.

In the Introductory article, editor-in-chief John Mecklin writes:

In this issue, leading experts on the US, Russian, and Chinese nuclear modernization programs argue for reasonable ways that would limit what has been euphemized as “modernization” but actually constitutes a ritual squandering of national resources on weapons that can never reasonably be used.

Since American nuclear policy so often drives that of Russia and China, it is particularly useful to assess their perspectives on the massive American nuclear modernization program now underway. Dmitri Trenin, historian, policy analyst, and director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, explains:

US and Russian strategic worlds are converging. Both countries admit that they are in a confrontation with each other. Both are convinced this situation will last a long while. Both governments lay a premium on perfecting their nuclear weapons. Both defense establishments consider a US-Russian war a possibility and are preparing for it.

Moscow’s and Washington’s strategic optics, however, are just the opposite.

As for the China-USA nuclear relationship, Tong Zhao, an associate at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, outlines steps the USA can take to help stabilize this interaction.

Maintaining a stable nuclear relationship requires effort from both countries. But because China’s nuclear-weapon strategy is primarily focused on reacting to and deterring potential US nuclear strikes, what Washington does to manage this nuclear relationship will be the most significant external factor on Beijing’s nuclear thinking and policy-making.

For the full magazine see: Spotlight on Nuclear Modernization (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Journal Volume 75, Issue 1, 2 January 2019).

For the individual articles see:

Introduction: The wasteful and dangerous worldwide nuclear modernization craze (John Mecklin, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 75 Issue 1, 2 January 2019).

Russian views of US nuclear modernization (Dmitri Trenin, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 75, Issue 1, 2 January, 2019).

What the United States can do to stabilize its nuclear relationship with China. (Tong Zhao, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 75, Issue 1, 2 January 2019)

Note that, after a short introduction, there is a link to the full article on the online site of Francis and Taylor, free access to which will be granted for the month of January.







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