Nuclear Weapons in a Changing Global Order


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Steven E. Miller, Robert Legvold, and Lawrence D. Freedman
Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age

This is the third Occasional Paper of the project on Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age, an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The project focuses on the dangers and opportunities presented by an increasingly complex world shaped by nine states that possess nuclear weapons. The initiative is concentrating its efforts in three areas: 1) a rapidly shifting geopolitical environment and its impact on relations between and among the states that now make up a multipolar nuclear world; 2) the technological frontiers being approached or crossed in cyber operations, artificial intelligence, non- nuclear strategic weaponry, space, bioweapons, and enhanced missile defense and their implications for strategic stability, nuclear norms, and nuclear concepts such as extended nuclear deterrence; and 3) in managing this new nuclear world, the role and prospects of nuclear arms control as well as alternative mechanisms for governing and reducing the prospects for nuclear use. In the first phase of the project, we have focused on some of the core questions generated by the changes in this new environment.

This publication, Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age: Nuclear Weapons in a Changing Global Order, examines the multi-layered and rapidly changing interface between the nuclear order and the international system. The essays that follow investigate how changes and potential instability among nuclear weapons states are affecting the broader geopolitical landscape.

In a thoughtful and historically rich discussion, Steven Miller illustrates the risks and challenges originating in a multipolar nuclear order. Robert Legvold, cochair of the project, explores how a variety of factors add to the complexity of managing a changing nuclear order. Finally, Lawrence Freedman offers an in-depth analysis of the main interplay between global security and nuclear stability.

Funding for Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age initiative has been provided by generous support from Louise Henry Bryson and John E. Bryson, John F. Cogan, Jr., Lester Crown, Alan M. Dachs, Bob and Kristine Higgins, Richard Rosenberg, and Kenneth L. and Susan S. Wallach.

Christopher Chyba
Cochair, Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age project, American Academy of Arts and Sciences