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"The Arms Control Association’s work is an important resource to legislators and policymakers when contemplating a new policy direction or decision."

– General John Shalikashvili
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Published Op-eds

The opinion pieces and editorials below are those authored by Arms Control Association staff and leadership published in major U.S. and international media.


Cherry Picking Intelligence For War in the Middle East? Here We Go Again

This op-ed originally appeared in Defense One. Will Trump follow the Bush playbook and start a war with Iran? The ingredients are in place for the United States to repeat a scenario that has cost us dearly in the past: the misuse of intelligence to muster public support for an unwise war. Fifteen years ago, Bush administration officials led the nation to invade Iraq based on their own political agenda more than facts. This time the adversary would be Iran, the target of unrelenting hostility from the Trump administration. Donald Trump’s presidency has quickly become one of the most deeply...

Missile Defense Can't Save Us From North Korea

This post originally appeared in War on the Rocks . There is no more urgent threat to the global nuclear nonproliferation order than North Korea’s accelerating and unconstrained nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang is estimated to possess enough nuclear explosive material for at least 10 nuclear warheads, and in all likelihood already has the capability to deliver some of these weapons on its arsenal of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. By 2020, some experts believe Pyongyang may have enough fissile material for 100 warheads. With more nuclear tests, North Korea can...

Take First Strike Against North Korea Off the Table

This article originally appeared in LobeLog. There has been a blizzard of commentaries in recent months on what U.S. policy should be in the face of North Korea’s defiant efforts to develop nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. It is the habit of U.S. government officials to solemnly warn that “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear weapons, including a “preventive” first strike, which would disarm as much of the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities as possible. Yet there is almost complete silence on the illegality and immorality of any such attack and on how it...

In the age of Trump, the global nuclear threat is too high

This article originally appeared on the website Left Foot Forward. Today, US and Russian nuclear stockpiles are down from their Cold War peaks, but the global nuclear threat remains far too high. The US and Russia are estimated to have 4,018 and 4,500 warheads stockpiled and assigned for military use. Under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), each is limited to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on as many as 700 nuclear delivery vehicles until 2021. If these weapons were used even in a ‘limited’ way, the result would be catastrophic. Even before the arrival of Donald...

Interview: Why Did Syria Still Have Chemical Weapons?

This op-ed originally appeared in NYMag.com. Late on Thursday night, Donald Trump launched the first military strike of his presidency, hitting a Syrian government air base with 59 missiles. It was the same air base from which Syria had dispatched a chemical-weapons attack against its own people earlier this week. Foreign-policy experts are only now beginning to debate whether the U.S. is at war with Syria; what happens next remains totally unclear. However, one thing is certain: Syria’s chemical weapons were supposed to be gone as of 2014, thanks to a removal plan the U.S. and Russia had...

On travel bans: Instead of refugees coming out, look at weapons going in

This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill. The Trump administration's new executive order on immigration, replacing the currently-blocked “Muslim ban,” will be top-line news. Likely lost in the conversation will be the vast amount of weaponry the United States has supplied in and around the conflict zones from which refugees are fleeing. The United States remains the world’s top major arms dealer at a time when the volume of global arms transfers has reached its highest point since the Cold War , according to a report released Monday by the well-respected Stockholm International Peace...

Which nuclear threats should we worry most about?

This op-ed originally appeared in The Des Moines Register. During his 24-day reign as national security adviser, Michael Flynn put non-nuclear Iran “on notice” after it conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test in late January. Flynn directed no comparable warning to nuclear North Korea after it conducted a more significant missile test two weeks later. Meanwhile, no one had apparently put Flynn “on notice” about his multiple conversations with the Russian government concerning U.S. sanctions in the wake of Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections. Between the internal politics of...

Drones: A Challenge to the Law of Armed Conflict

This op-ed originally appeared in The Cipher Brief . Over the last eight years, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism policy has in large part been defined by drone strikes against a number of terrorist targets around the world. Indeed, the U.S. drone program is a global enterprise, with bases in at least 10 countries, lethal operations in at least seven countries, and coordination of drone operations with numerous partners and allies. But even as the U.S. drone program has become a cornerstone of counterterrorism policy, its implementation has raised a number of questions, particularly...

A Millennial's Vote to Ban the Bomb

This op-ed originally appeared in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists On October 27, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted to begin negotiations next year on a legally binding international treaty to ban nuclear weapons. The historic resolution passed with the support of 123 member states, 38 opposed, and 16 abstaining—but has drawn sharp criticism from many of the world’s nuclear powers. The United States is a staunch opponent, calling the proposed resolution unrealistic and unverifiable, and reprimanding its supporters for attempting to dismantle the existing “...

The Case for No-First-Use

This op-ed originally appeared in The Cipher Brief. The conditions under which a U.S. president might use nuclear weapons has in recent weeks become a topic of national conversation. Toward the end of the first presidential debate on September 27, moderator Lester Holt asked Republican nominee Donald Trump if he supported the adoption of declared policy that the United States will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, a policy proposal reportedly under consideration by President Barack Obama. Trump’s response , as has been the case with most policy issues, was self-...

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