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I am proud to announce the release of the American Nuclear Policy Initiative’s new report "Blundering Toward Nuclear Chaos: The Trump Administration After 3 Years."…

#BlunderingTowardNuclearChaos @globalzero

The report includes analysis from some of today's top experts including @KingstonAReif on nuclear spending @KelseyDav on North Korea @RichardMNephew on Iran @atomicbell on global nuclear regime @Nickolas_Roth on nuclear security @SquassoniSharon on nuclear power and myself

The report includes an assessment of Trump Administration's efforts and finds that all of the nuclear dangers facing the US - those President Trump inherited and those he helped create - are getting worse. Without a change in policy, nuclear chaos is all but inevitable.

While the world is dealing with the pain and devastation caused by Covid-19 pandemic, we must not lose track of the very real and continued dangers nuclear weapons pose. The risk of nuclear weapons use is high and getting worse.

The same traits we see on Covid-19 response - policy on impulse, rejection of facts and evidence, lack of coordinated policy or messaging, a failure to prioritize or do the hard work to achieve success are all on display on US nuclear policy under President Trump as well.

The risk of nuclear weapons use is perhaps higher now than ever before. Some of these dangers were inherited by President Trump, others are the result of its own actions or inaction. It is clear that all of these risks have increased during President Trump’s time in office.
This Administration has made bad nuclear policy choices, planned poorly, dropped the ball on implementation, lacks of a robust policy making process, and has undermined of proven nuclear security tools and experienced personnel.
Even in areas where the Administration has set reasonable policy goals, they have failed to: implement effectively, do the hard prep work, assign needed resources, prioritize, and appoint capable and experienced personnel.
This new assessment from seasoned experts and former officials finds after three years, the United States under President Trump is #BlunderingTowardNuclearChaos. Without a deliberate change in policy and behavior, the risks of nuclear use and spread will continue to grow.
I am honored to be associated with the authors of the included papers and endorses of the combined assessment.…

The American Nuclear Policy Initiative seeks to identify shortcomings, point out missed opportunities, and will continue its work this year to identify policy options for the President sworn into office on January 2021 regardless of who wins the election.

America must change its nuclear approach to enhance its security and that of friends and allies. Whoever assumes office next year will need to materially change US policy on nuclear weapons issues, across the board. The consequences of failure are impossible to overstate.

US-Russian nuclear issues are an acute concern. Deterrence and stability is being eroded across the board, making escalation more likely. President Trump has undermined our key alliances and lowered the bar to nuclear use by deploying new, more usable nuclear weapons.
This Administration has failed to sustain ongoing high-level strategic stability talks with Moscow, to communicate effectively or put out a clear message of standing with our allies. Neither our allies or adversaries know where our priorities are.

President Trump has undermined the role negotiated verified agreements can play in stabilizing relations, and is putting the last such agreement - the New START Treaty - needlessly at risk by refusing to extend it with Russia.

Instead of extending New START, President Trump has laid out an ambitious, but all but impossible to achieve short term goal of shoehorning China into negotiated arms control limits as a pre-condition to extending New START. It is a plan literally designed to fail.

President Trump has greatly increased spending on nuclear weapons even beyond what many experts believe is necessary or sustainable. The economic implications of the current pandemic crisis only increase concerns about the affordability of these programs.

The looming nuclear showdown with Iran is another major point of concern. Iran has enhanced its nuclear ability as a direct result of the US withdrawing its support for the Iran deal, and US now estranged from key allies needed to restrict Iran's capabilities.

Trump’s original goal, to improve on the nuclear deal was laudable. Yet as with so many other areas Trump failed to follow through on his goal with effective diplomacy, or pursuing more lasting constraints on Iran. The result is close to abject failure.

High risk, high reward diplomacy with North Korea under Trump has also come up empty. The DPRK continues to expand its strategic weapons, and efforts to engage DPRK have all but vanished. With or w/out Kim, the danger to US is worse today than it was on January 20, 2017

By going big on DPRK without the necessary prep work and by ignoring experienced voices who proposed starting with step by step efforts, Trump gambled and lost big and US ability to influence DPRK has faltered.

ANPI members have long and hard won experience in protecting America against a range of nuclear dangers. We respect the right of any president to determine the direction of US policy. But nuclear policy under President Trump is making America less secure.

Over the next 10 days, ANPI authors will be tweeting summaries of their articles and analysis. The goal is not to criticize, but to make clear that we are on the wrong path and a new direction and process is needed, one that relies on expertise and facts.
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