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The United States after unipolarity: Obama’s nuclear weapons policy in a changing world

Futter, Andrew (2011) The United States after unipolarity: Obama’s nuclear weapons policy in a changing world. IDEAS reports - special reports, Kitchen, Nicholas (ed.) (SR009). LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The role that nuclear weapons should play in US security policy has divided analysts and policymakers since “the bomb” was first used in 1945, and has been a particularly important question facing US presidents since the end of the Cold War. Essentially this is because in the post-Cold War world it has become clear that the US no longer needs the many thousands of nuclear warheads originally intended to deter the Soviet Union in order to deal with the new types of threats – from rogue states or even terrorists – that currently dominate US security thinking. In fact, many believe that retaining large stockpiles of nuclear weapons worldwide will increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons technology will proliferate to other actors hostile to the US around the globe, which may one day be used. However, this has not translated directly into coherent policy towards nuclear reductions, or indeed created unambiguous political support for nuclear elimination. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all made steps in this direction – with varying degrees of success, and with different political aims in mind – but Barack Obama is the first post-Cold War US president to truly embrace the issue of nuclear abolition, and to make reducing US reliance on such weapons a central priority.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 The Author
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 04 May 2012 12:30
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:18

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