Mini. Nuclear. Weapons.


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Zack, Jenn, and Alex discuss the Trump administration’s decision to put a mini nuclear weapon on a US submarine for the first time. They explain what a mini-nuke actually is, the reasons for this decision, the cases for and against doing it, and how to think about the future of nuclear weapons policy in a world of renewed great power politics and weakening arms control agreements. Zack confesses his fascination with pre-modern warfare, Jenn coins a Ringo Starr theory of nuclear policy, and Alex describes himself as an “end of the world enthusiast.”


This is a really great summary of the debate on putting mini-nukes on submarines.

Here’s a link to the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review.

Zack talked about Vipin Narang’s War on the Rocks piece on the discrimination problem when using low-yield nukes.

Alex discussed Russia’s “escalate to de-escalate” strategy.

Jenn mentioned the idea of a “nuclear taboo” and also referenced the book Thinking about the Unthinkable.

Here’s a link to the “mineshaft gap” scene in Dr. Strangelove.

Alex broke the story about the Trump administration’s new landmine policy, and also wrote a great (and terrifying) feature on how nuclear war could kill us all.


Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp), senior correspondent, Vox

Jennifer Williams (@jenn_ruth), senior foreign editor, Vox

Alex Ward (@AlexWardVox), national security reporter, Vox

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157 episodes