Jeffrey LewisChinese Nuclear Posture and Force Mod

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies has published a new occasional paper published by (Engaging China and Russia on Nuclear Disarmament Occasional Paper No. 15, Cristina Hansell and William C. Potter, eds.) that includes a commissioned paper by yours truly.

The paper, Chinese Nuclear Posture and Force Modernization (pp 37-46), is something I have wanted to write for a while — it summarizes some of the arguments in the book and makes explicit other themes. It opens:

According to a recent U.S. government white paper, China “is the only major nuclear power that is expanding the size of its nuclear arsenal.” This claim is often invoked in the United States to imply that China’s military modernizations are somehow illegitimate or to raise questions about what darkness may lie in the hearts of China’s military and political leaders.

But what does the statement really mean? What are the technical, historical, and bureaucratic realities that have shaped China’s nuclear posture and drive its ongoing modernization? What do these realities say about China’s national security policy making? About how Chinese leaders view nuclear weapons, arms control, and disarmament? About the nature of the threat to the United States?

All of the other commissioned papers are really interesting. In terms of China, you probably already know J.D. Yuan. You probably don’t know Lora Saalman, but you should. Some people pretend to be able to speak Chinese, Lora is actually doing her doctorate at Tsinghua under Li Bin.



  1. Patricia Lewis (History)

    Thanks for this – Tina and JD did a great job.