Risk of nuclear weapon use—be it deliberate use in an escalating crisis or war, in accordance with circumstances set out in nuclear doctrines, or due to inadvertent events—has grown in the Euro-Atlantic, mainly as a function of the resurgent strategic competition between the Russian Federation and the United States. Asymmetries in risk perceptions and developments in military capabilities are driving real and perceived insecurities. In this tense environment, (mis)interpretation of nuclear doctrines, coupled with poor risk analysis, could become self-fulfilling prophecies. This policy brief discusses sources of political volatility, outlines some of the risk drivers, and suggests measures in support of nuclear risk reduction in the Euro-Atlantic.

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This article was originally published by UNIDIR.