Nonproliferation
Report

Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos

Greater resources and political attention to international initiatives are needed to ensure that nuclear terrorism risks continue to decline.

By Nickolas Roth Co-Author
  • May 6, 2020

More ambitious work is needed to keep up with evolving threats. The United States needs a plan to strengthen global nuclear security. The plan should focus on working with as many countries as possible with dangerous nuclear stocks or facilities, either ensuring that they have effective and sustainable nuclear security or developing steps to mitigate risks when cooperation is not feasible. In particular, the plan should focus on strategies for working with countries that face the biggest risks, even if there are political barriers to that cooperation. The president should identify a leader whose full-time job is carrying out this plan and allocate the resources to support it. Meanwhile, Congress needs to devote sustained attention to the nuclear terrorism threat and support steps to reduce risks.

Three years after entering office, the Trump administration lacks a coherent set of goals, a strategy to achieve them, or the personnel or effective policy process to address the most complex set of nuclear risks in U.S. history. Put simply, the current U.S. administration is blundering toward nuclear chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.

In May 2020, the American Nuclear Policy Initiative (ANPI), a task force of former government and non-governmental experts, released an objective analysis of U.S. nuclear policy under Donald Trump. “Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos: The Trump Administration after Three Years” finds that all of the nuclear challenges facing the United States – some inherited by the president and others of his own creation – have worsened over the last three years, putting national and global security at greater risk of nuclear use.

Featuring seven essays from ANPI members, the report details the current administration’s efforts on the issues of nuclear proliferation, strategic stability, nuclear modernization, Iran, and North Korea. The papers are by some of the most experienced and insightful U.S. analysts of nuclear issues.

Read the full report on Global Zero.

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