Russia poses a threat that underscores the need to enhance U.S. missile defenses and modernize the nuclear arsenal. Some opponents claim that nuclear weapons are associated with outdated Cold War thinking and are irrelevant to contemporary politics, but they are mistaken. Nuclear weapons remain crucial to current affairs, particularly when a country that has over 2,000 nuclear weapons uses them rhetorically to gain advantage. If the U.S. were to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal, armed states like Russia would utilize nuclear stockpiles as leverage to coerce or attack the U.S. and its allies. The best way to complicate the calculus of Russia (or that of any rogue nation that desires to launch a nuclear attack) is by boosting missile defenses of the U.S. homeland and maintaining an assured second-strike capability. Now is not the time to envision a world without nuclear weapons – now is the time to boost missile defenses and revamp the strategic nuclear force to protect our nation. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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