Weekly Geopolitical Report – Thinking the Unthinkable (Again): Part I (January 22, 2018)

by Bill O’Grady

Seven years ago we published a WGR on nuclear war and civil defense.[1]  Over the past seven years, we have seen an increase in actual and potential nuclear proliferation.  Both the Obama and Trump administrations have either reviewed or are reviewing their policies on nuclear weapons and we are clearly seeing a departure from the late Cold War thinking on nuclear policy.  The recent false alarm in Hawaii is an indication of heightened concerns and suggests that another look at this issue is warranted.

In Part I of this report, we will review the development of nuclear weapons and the U.S. deployment policy from the end of WWII to the end of the Cold War.  This history will include analysis of how the theory of deterrence developed over time and introduce the events of the post-Cold War world.  In Part II, we will discuss how the Cold War arrangements have broken down in the post-Cold War world and the ensuing nuclear proliferation.  We will also examine how states will cope with this changing nuclear weapons environment and the evolution of new nuclear doctrines.  This will include a discussion on civil defense, nuclear strategy and weapons development.  We will conclude, as always, with potential market ramifications.

View the full report

[1] See WGR, 1/10/2011, Thinking the Unthinkable: Civil Defense.