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Explain This: De-Alerting Nuclear Forces
Transcript of Explain This: De-Alerting Nuclear Forces
Cold War Today Time to De-Alert? During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union began putting nuclear weapons on high-alert status. That is, a retaliatory nuclear weapon could be assigned to an adversary within mere minutes. Crumbling Walls, Crumbling Promises In 2013, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' authors Hans Kristensen, of the Federation of American Scientists, and Matthew McKinzie, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, estimate that the United States and Russia keep 1,800 nuclear weapons on high-trigger alert. That is more than all of the other nuclear weapons states—combined—have in their arsenals.
Despite Obama's commitment, his nuclear posture remains as it did in 2010. In 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush announces the importance of removing nuclear weapons from hair-trigger alert.
Seven years later, presidential candidate Barack Obama pledges the same thing. What opponents say
What supporters say Middle ground?
High-alert is wrong in a world trying to reduce the numbers and role of nuclear weapons. High-alert is a good deterrent and adds to the options that nations have during a crisis. Experts argue that there is a compromise in a phased approach—that is, parts of postures are removed gradually from alert.
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