This first BASIC Trident Commission briefing outlines recent worrying developments in the nuclear force structures of the world’s nuclear armed states. It argues that “the evidence points to a new era of global nuclear force modernisation and growth”.
It presents evidence that:
- Despite all the recent disarmament rhetoric, there is no evidence that any of the currently nuclear armed states are actively contemplating a future without nuclear weapons;
- The potential for nuclear weapons use is growing;
- Major development or nuclear force modernisation programmes are underway in India, China, the US, Russia, and Pakistan. Israel is on course to develop an inter-continental ballistic missile; India is developing a whole suite of new missiles with longer ranges; Several states are trying to build smaller nuclear warheads for tactical use;
- If anything, the evidence points to new nuclear arms races and a huge amount of money (hundreds of billions of US$) being spent over the coming decade;
- Despite the need for major powers to cooperatively address the challenges of globalisation, nuclear deterrence thinking is still very evident in the defence policies of all the major powers; and
- The New START treaty, while a welcome return to arms control, has a number of loopholes meaning that its affect on disarmament is minimal.