The mushroom cloud from the test detonation of the world’s first full-scale thermonuclear device.

Nuclear brinksmanship has been on the rise in recent years, even as anti-nuclear sentiment has never been higher. That makes this moment in the U.S. a good one for reckoning and reassessment. Political science scholarship can guide journalistic efforts in refocusing the national conversation on the perils of a nuclear world.

Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Russia is developing a space-based nuclear capability designed to target the United States’ extensive satellite network. The threat isn’t urgent, but it is the latest example of Moscow’s efforts to develop, expand and brandish its nuclear arsenal.

Lighted candles spell out, “No Nukes Future! TPNW 2021."

Some observers have wondered whether the taboo against nuclear weapons is weakening under the pressures of resurgent nuclear brinksmanship and unyielding nuclear postures. But based on what political scientists know about international prohibition norms, there is less need for concern here than it might seem.

Free Newsletter