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Toward a World Free From Nuclear Weapons


Published August 20, 2020

Achieving a nuclear-free world will take efforts from both nuclear-armed and nuclear-capable nations. By extending and reaffirming our commitment to the New START Treaty and establishing rules on new types of warfighting, the United States can reduce the risk of nuclear escalation. A multinational effort in committing to these steps will bring us closer to a nuclear-free world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the benefits of nuclear disarmament?
  2. How can America maintain a strong national defense without nuclear weapons?

Additional Resources:

  • Read “A World without Nuclear Weapons,” by James Goodby and Steven Pifer. Available here.
  • Read “The War That Must Never Be Fought,” by James Goodby. Available here.
  • Read “The Coming Age of Diplomacy,” by James Goodby via the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Available here.
View Transcript

There is a worldwide effort underway to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. While the United States and Russia must take the lead, they have to be joined by other nuclear-armed and nuclear-capable nations, like China, the UK, France, India, and Pakistan.

Eliminating nuclear weapons may sound like an impossible dream, but there are three key steps that could help mitigate the factors that drive nations to possess nuclear weapons.

First, as agreed upon in the New START Treaty, the United States and Russia can reaffirm their commitment to further reducing their nuclear stockpiles.

Second, they can show the world that reducing nuclear weapons is an ongoing priority by extending the New START Treaty by another five years.

Finally, nuclear-armed countries could agree on rules regarding new types of warfighting, like space, cyber, and artificial intelligence to help prevent nuclear escalation. Ensuring that mistakes and misinterpretations don’t lead to unintended consequences has always been a critical aspect of arms control agreements.

If we all commit to these steps, we will be even closer to a nuclear free world.