Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes, it could.
The Nobel Committee awarded its annual peace prize to the laudable goal of nuclear disarmament. But civil society actors and governments concerned about disarmament should not be tempted to rest on the laurels of this achievement.
Every one of the very real challenges Iran poses in the world would be made more difficult to manage if Iran were freed of the nuclear limits agreed in the JCPOA, and every one of them would be made more difficult if the United States isolates itself from its partners.
If there were real military or political benefits to redeploying nuclear weapons in South Korea, this idea would be worth a serious review, but redeploying them today makes no sense, and indeed could exacerbate the current crisis over North Korea’s nuclear threats.
Days after the 2016 U.S. election, a small group of German experts began to publicly debate whether Berlin should pursue one of three nuclear options. Although the shallow debate was short-lived, over time this effort may turn out to be a bellwether of fundamental change in Germany’s national identity.
Instead of putting the JCPOA in jeopardy, the United States would be well advised to permit the implementation of the agreement to go forward and, together with other parties, encourage the IAEA to vigorously pursue its obligations under the agreement.
If states truly want to help eliminate nuclear weapons, there are a few meaningful steps they can take to address urgent threats to the cause of global disarmament.
Even though arms control cannot prevent deliberate escalation, at least confidence-and-security-building measures could diminish the risk of unintended escalation. But the political realities in Moscow and Washington are not promising for conventional arms control in Europe.
To reduce danger, we need less bombast and better communication.
Pressure by the United States was less decisive in forcing South Korea to ratify the NPT in 1975 than commonly assumed.