Michael Krepon

Michael Krepon

Michael Krepon is the co-founder of the Stimson Center and the author of Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control. He was given a lifetime achievement award for non-governmental work to reduce nuclear dangers by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2015. He has worked in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government, and taught as a professor of practice at the University of Virginia.


All Posts

A Personal Note

James Baker’s Politics of Diplomacy

It Can’t Happen Here

Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (V): Proliferation

Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (IV): Proliferation

Yippie! An Ippy!

The Use and Misuse of Nuclear Fear

Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (III): Missile Defense

Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (II)

Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (I)

Atomic Steppe

Putin’s Use of A Nuclear Weapon Against Ukraine Would Backfire

All Wars Must End

Hold Steady

Putin Gives the Mad Man Theory a Try

Aggressive War, Redux

Arms Control, Interrupted

Time For Another Big Re-Think

The First Debate Over Downwinders

Ukraine and the Future of Arms Control

Contingency Planning

Arms Control Between Nuclear-Armed Rivals

Ward Wilson’s Theory of (Radical) Change

What Is Your Theory of Change? Do We Need a Common One?

How Bob Dole Rescued the Chemical Weapons Convention

War in Modern Society

More on No Use, Period.

India’s Chinese Menu Approach to China

Which President Was Best for Arms Control?

What Would Nuclear Peace Look Like?

Colin Powell

Birthing a Book

The Perfect Storm

How Much Longer for a Space Code of Conduct?

Hope and Stiltgrass

Time to Shift from the Post-Kabul Blues to the China Arms Control Challenge

The Unipolar Moment Crashes and Burns in Kabul

Topping-off National Missile Defenses for Tac Nuke Reductions?

Is a Third Trade for Missile Defenses Possible?

Time for a Big Philanthropic Bet

Mearsheimer on Great Power Politics

Let’s Discuss Strategic Stability

No Cities

After WMD Use, Then What?

Go Big or Go Home?

Adios, Open Skies Treaty

Wilson and Barash on Abolition and Deterrence

Nuclear Grand Strategy (sic) and Abolition

Another Book on the Cuban Missile Crisis

In Appreciation of Vartan Gregorian

Chauncey Gardiner Makes Another Appearance

This Would Be A Good Time for An Open Skies Treaty Overflight

Multiple Choice Quiz

Britain Increases Its Defense Spending and Shortchanges Its Future

The Well-Read Wonk

Killing the ABM Treaty: A Retrospective

The Stimson Center’s Origin Story

Misguided Military Doctrine

Nuclear Learning

George Shultz

Treaties, Numbers and Norms

No Use

Joe Biden’s Turn

Trump’s Black Swan Song

Failures of Imagination

Nuclear-Armed Rivalry in Southern Asia

Restoring U.S. Arms Control Expertise

Biden’s Immediate Agenda Items

U.S. Withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty: Three Legal Issues

Adieu, Open Skies?

Biden’s Treaty Quandary

Fanfare for the Common Man

Paul Warnke

Putin Votes for Trump

The President’s Sole Authority for First Use

Extending New START for Five Years

The Well-Read Wonk


Chauncey Gardner Returns

Stigmatizing Nuclear Threats

Norm Building, National Sovereignty and Arms Control

Can Beijing Make Good Trouble?

Abolition and Addiction

Nixon and Kissinger

Heroes of Arms Control: Thomas Schelling

Count Every Warhead: A Critique

The Scam of Sacrificing New START for Visionary Goals

Trump & Bolton

Trilateral Negotiations to Count Every Warhead


A Flock of Black Swans Comes Home to Roost

The Open Skies Treaty Bites the Dust

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Trump’s National Security Strategy Revisited

Hard and Soft Power

The Day After Hiroshima

The Covid-19 and Nuclear Plagues

The Most Consequential Step

Giving Thanks for Heroic Efforts

Making Nukes Weapons of Last Resort

Addicted to Edginess

The Waning of On-Site Inspections and Strategic Seychel

Lisa Owens Davis

Space Diplomacy

Stephen Ledogar: Unsung Hero of Arms Control

Where Are We? And Where Do We go from Here?

NATO Expansion and the Great Unraveling of Arms Control

Political Reflections from the Serengeti

The Travails of Nuclear-Armed States

A Decade of Regression and Dismantlement

The Decade of Factionalism and the Search for Icons

Why No Mushroom Clouds?

Disruption and Regression


The Canonical Affirmation

SALT I, Fifty Years On

Krasnoyarsk: The Antecedent to the INF Treaty Violation?

In Memoriam: Stephen Philip Cohen

Norm Building and Tear Downs

All Roads Lead to Putin

More Malfeasance on Open Skies

No Use is Stronger Than No First Use

Impeachment and Arms Control

Free Falling, cont.

Raymond Aron

Chauncey Gardner Has a Sore Back

Les Gelb

India Fuzzes Up No First Use

India, Another Exceptional, Illiberal Democracy

Kashmir’s Escalatory Potential

Death of a Treaty

Heroes of Arms Control: Tom Schelling and Mort Halperin

Arleigh Burke on National Security Strategy

Free Fall (cont.)

The Demise of Nuclear Arms Control

Who Is the Biggest Threat to American National Security?

Mirror Imaging

The CTBT Takes Another Hit

Henry Kissinger’s Mixed Record on Nuclear Arms Control

Taking Aim at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Mother Nature’s Target List

The Well Read Wonk (cont.)

Will India and Pakistan Be Able to Step Back from Nuclear Danger?

Robert S. McNamara, Arms Control Hero

The Establishment, R.I.P., and Next Gen Arms Control

The Golden Age of Nuclear Arms Control

What Trump Decision is Likely to Increase Nuclear Dangers the Most?

Heroes of Arms Control

Norms of Responsible Nuclear Stewardship (cont.)

Norms of Responsible Nuclear Stewardship

George Kennan on the Bomb

The Russell-Einstein Manifesto

After New START, What?

War Drums on the Subcontinent (Again)

The Nuclear First — and Second — Use Dilemma

Cleaning Up Trash

The 2019 Nuclear Threat Assessment for South Asia

How Low Has America Fallen in the Trump Administration?

The Lure and Illusion of Consensus

The Wisdom of Herb York

The Fourth Wave

Happy New Year, For The Tides They Are A-Changing

Arms Control and the Aging Process

The Highly Questionable Case for New Low-Yield Options

Rescuing the INF Treaty

George Herbert Walker Bush

Chemical Warfare that Saves Lives

Nuclear Risk-Reduction on the Korean Peninsula

The New Congress and the Lost Art of Political Compromise

Veterans Day/Armistice Day

Stuck on the Subcontinent

Weapons of Last Resort

Trashing the INF Treaty

No First Use

For Treaty Trashers, Nothing is Better than Something

Brodie’s Brain

The Lunch Bunch

Doomed to Cooperate with the Nuclear Competition


Two + Two = Two

Track II

From Here to Eternity: Hans Morgenthau on the Bomb

The Perils of Small-Group Thinking

On the 73rd Anniversary of Hiroshima

Tom Schelling, Mini-Nukes and the Nuclear Taboo

Increasingly Tenuous Strategic Stability

Putin and Trump Meet at Helsinki

The Holy Grail of Deterrence Stability

Chauncey Gardner, Redux

No Surprise: The Bomb Has Made a Bad Situation Worse in South Asia

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

The Un-Scorecard for the Trump-Kim Encounter

A New Look at Crisis Management in South Asia

On Memorial Day, Remembering Mark Hatfield and Others Who Served

Crippling the Open Skies Treaty Punishes Allies and the US, Not Russia

On the Objectives of Arms Control

Whiffs of Grapeshot

A Nobel Prize for Brinkmanship?

Trump and Kim Upend Diplomatic Protocol

The Logic of Nuclear Superiority

A Passive U.S. Approach to the Next India-Pakistan Crisis?

Steve Coll on the Afghan Quagmire

Proliferation Optimism vs. Pessimism, Revisited

John Bolton

India-Pakistan Friction Heats Up

Trump and Kim: Shades of Reykjavik

The Belated Consequences of Killing the ABM Treaty

Escalating to De-escalate

Justice and the Bomb

Public Speaking Tips for Aspiring Wonks

Nuclear Posturing

Crises between India and Pakistan: The Basics

The Most Dangerous Aspect of Trump’s Nuclear Posture

Rupture and Betrayal

Utilizing Article XIV Conferences to Boost the Two Norms that Matter Most

Year-End Assessment

Crisis Management Gets More Complicated between Pakistan and India


No First Use


Rule of Thumb: Don’t Start a War If You Don’t Know Where to Bury the Dead

Explaining What I Do for a Living

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Demanding Strengthened Inspections in Iran

“One Last Chance” for Pakistan

Act I: The Iran Deal Begins to Unravel

Stale Thinking on Tac Nukes Reheated

Two Fantasists, No Exit Strategy

Pyrrhic Victories and Draws

Proliferation in the Age of Uncertainty

A Third War in Sixteen Years?

Parallel Crises

The Trump Effect

Modern Man is Obsolete

Is Space the Final War-Fighting Frontier?

Deterrence Stability is a Hoax. The Delicate Balance of Terror is, Too.

After the Prohibition Treaty

Chance Encounter with Chauncey Gardiner

U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Duplicity, Betrayal, or National Interests?

Sechser & Fuhrmann: Deterrence Yes; Coercion No.

U.S. Leadership on the Rocks

Disarmament Diplomacy and the Ban Treaty

What’s the Objective in a Nuclear War?

Nuclear South Asia

The American Century

Nuclear Learning

A Three-Person Rule for Nuclear First Use

The Counterforce Compulsion in South Asia

The Ban Movement’s Moment

The Ghost Ship Anchored at Foggy Bottom

Low Yield Nuclear Weapons (Again)

U.S.-Pakistan Relations and the Big Stick

Responding to the INF Treaty Violation

Reasons for the Great Unraveling of the Arms Control Enterprise

A World Preparing for Wars

Tear-Down Mode

A Simple, Unthreatening Way to Shore Up NATO

No Peace and No War in South Asia?

A Time Out for New NSG Membership

Kashmir and Rising Nuclear Dangers on the Subcontinent

Taking Stock

Year End Blues

Holiday Greetings: Rave On, Dear Friends

Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century

Trump and the Bomb (cont.)

Trump and the Bomb

Fred Iklé on the Second Nuclear Age

Cry, the Beloved Country

Bombs, Bans, and Norms

Learning About Nuclear South Asia

The Nuclear Ban Treaty and Our Wobbly Nuclear Order

Elections, Fear of the Bomb, and the Great Unraveling

Pakistan’s Compulsion is Not a Choice

Pakistan’s Choice

The Well-Read Wonk on Democracy & the Bomb

Indian Strategic Restraint, Revised

Modi Chooses Strategic Restraint

The Waiting Game on the Subcontinent

Senator Rubio and Kim Jong Un Weigh In on the CTBT

The Enduring Value of the CTBT

The Demise of the Republican National Security Establishment

Senator Corker and the CTBT

Donald Trump’s Challenge to Nuclear Orthodoxy

The Lesson of Nagasaki

Not Just Yet for No First Use

Learning About Nuclear South Asia

Congressional Hearings as Inquisitions

Kashmir on the Boil

Alliances and No First Use

Club Membership

Diplomatic Posturing

The Cruel Politics of Arms Limitation

The Humanitarian Pledge, Nuclear Weapons, and the Laws of War

Evaluating the Visit to Hiroshima

The Second Coming of MIRVs

Nuclear Weapons and the Laws of War (cont.)

Unilateral or Bilateral Reductions?

To Hiroshima (cont.)

The Advantage of Being the Weaker, Nuclear-Armed State

To Hiroshima

Retrospectives on MIRVing in the First Nuclear Age


Yes, There’s a Legal Gap on Nuclear Weapons Use, But It Isn’t That Big

Applying Jus in Bello to the Nuclear Deterrent

In Defense of the Open Skies Treaty

New Warhead Designs

The Coming Backlash

Back to Business as Usual in South Asia?

The Nuclear Test Ban, Twenty Years Later

What’s Our Central Organizing Principle?

Arms Racing Redux?

So Far, So Good on the Subcontinent

Responding to North Korea’s Nuclear Test

Year’s End Kudos, 2015 Edition

Global Warming Up; Arms Control Down

I Like Ike (And the Nuclear Taboo)

Second-Term Blues for Arms Control

Islam and the Bomb

The Next War or the Last War in South Asia?

The Popularity of “The Martian”

Upending the Stalemate between India and Pakistan

The Catholic Church and the Bomb

Humanitarian Consequences (Cont.)

The Bomb, Escalation, and the Humanitarian Pledge

Decent Intervals

Stanislav Petrov

The New Isolationism

Wishful Thinking on Iran

A Normal Nuclear Pakistan

Rumi on the Iran Deal

Mentoring: From South Asia to Washington, DC

Seventy Years Without an A-Bombing

Space Code of Conduct Mugged in New York

When Leaders Follow Insurgents

Congress and the Iran Deal:
Money for Nothing, Votes for Free

Monitoring Provisions of the Iran Agreement

Iran Deal: Reading The Fine Print

Iran: The Punditariat Weighs In

Arms and Influence

Egypt, the Spoiler

Prelims on the Subcontinent

Nuclear Threats

A Wobbly Nuclear Order

Deterrence Instability in South Asia

Safe Nuclear Weapons

The Ironies of Living with the Bomb

The Iran Deal: Critiques and Rebuttals

The Iran Deal

The Gift of Meaningful Work

Cleansing Rituals

The President, Congress & Iran

Triangular Nuclear Competitions

The Negotiating Endgame in Iran

Nuclear Postures

Discriminate Deterrence

U.S. National Security Strategy

Obama in India; Xi in Pakistan

Nunn-Lugar, R.I.P.

Reconsidering Deterrence Stability

The Silent Treatment in South Asia

Year’s End and Contest Winners

Pakistan’s Trials

Diplomacy at Warped Speed


Repairing the Diplomatic Threat Reduction Enterprise

Reminder! Year-End Contest

Year End Contest

Pakistan’s Health and Demography

Caging the Bomb

Turing and Oppenheimer

Nuclear Dangers: Now What?

Reagan, Gorbachev and Reykjavik (II)

Reagan, Gorbachev and Reykjavik

Interns Wanted

Lulling and Stifling

Divergent Trajectories, the Bomb, and Kashmir

The New Nuclear

The Wind and the Lion

Action, Reaction

Norm-Setting for Outer Space

Accelerating Descent

Uncommon Strategic Restraint

Brodie at the Beginning

Responding to Treaty Violations

The Myth of Deterrence Stability

Will Pakistan and India Break the Fissile Material Deadlock?

The Dogs of War

Bye-Bye Bipartisanship

Silver Anniversary Celebrations and Fireworks

Drones, Revisited

Adelman on Reykjavik

Fasten Seat Belts, Please

Danger Signs


The Obama Doctrine

Pakistan’s Choice

Crime and Punishment

The Psychology of Deterrence

Open Skies

A Normal, Nuclear Pakistan

Nuclear Weapon Accidents

The Bucket Brigade

Massive Retaliation

A Wobbly Nuclear Order

Pakistan/US: Ties that Chafe and Bind

Promo: Life Lessons

India Adrift

Leaving the Mothership

The Age of Anxiety

Avoiding Scrapes with China

Mao on the Bomb

The Cost of Convenience

Failures of Intelligence

Baton Passes in Pakistan

Charm Offensives and Drugstore Cowboys

Whatever Happened to Minimum, Credible Deterrence?

Year End Contest Winners

Year-End Contest

Dismantling Obsolete Missiles in South Asia

Year-End Contest

Alternative Nuclear Futures

Pendulum Swings

How Long an “Interim”?

Interim Deal with Iran

Optimists and Cynics

Will Gravity Lift the Space Code of Conduct?

Conflicting Blueprints

Pakistan’s Red-Carpet Treatment

Human Values in the Atomic Age

Monitoring Iran

Guest Interview

Ghosts in the Machine

Punishment vs. Engagement

Heschel on the Bomb

Generation Why’s Turn in South Asia

Eyes Away from the Prize

The Absence of Ambition

Jasjit Singh

The Future of Arms Control

What Went Wrong with Arms Control?

Inferred vs. Demonstrable Deterrence


The Triad

Second Term Blues

Cheap Rhetorical Tricks

Peace, Justice and Nuclear Arms Reductions

The Vision Thing


Pakistan’s Rickover

Every War Must End (cont.)

Ritualized Anxieties over BMD

Saving Cities

Shyam Saran on India’s Nuclear Deterrent

The Commitment Trap

George Bunn

The Tortoise and the Hare: A Rebuttal

Every War Must End

Mad Men


WMD-Day + 10

The Dunn Theorem

Company for Public Transit

The Well Read Wonk

Drone Strikes in Pakistan

The Tortoise and the Hare

Cluster Bombs

POTUS in Situ for SOTU

Clapton & Co. on Deterrence

Is Arms Control Dead (Again)?

Apollo-Soyuz Redux?

Bunting and the Bomb

How Much Is Enough?

Portents of a Difficult Year

Atomic Playlist and Lyric Contest Winners

Year-End Review

Death and Disability

Guest Judge Lyrical Prompt


Holiday Season Contest

Verification, Risk, and Nuclear Testing

SALT’s Rise and Fall

Deterrence and the Unitary, Rational Actor

Now What?

Obama vs. Romney

The Battle of the Khans

Nuclear Competition, Asian Style

Reclaiming Pakistan

Visiting Pakistan

Robert Jervis

Options On and Off the Table

Brodie’s Weakest Book

Catch and Release

Worth the Wait

Small Change or Big Investment?

Spurgeon Keeny


Career Counseling

The Next Civ-Nuke Deal?

Falling Apart

Team B

Straws in the Wind

The Team with the Football

Haggling over Peripherals

Brodie Wonkathon

Multilateral Negotiations

The Well Read Wonk

Memorial Day

Peeling or Trading Onions?

Are We Winning or Losing? (Continued)

Are We Winning or Losing?

The Bomber Gap

Endless Summer

Tac Nukes in South Asia

Berlin and Moscow

Hedley Bull

The Big Shift

The Gift of Giving (II)

The Gift of Giving

The Moon Race

DPRK Announcement

Pakistan and the FMCT

Naval Treaties

Worst Ever Treaty Provisions

Complaints about the Code

Nixon, Kissinger, and SALT

Prime Ministers and Army Chiefs

Space Code of Conduct Advances

Years of Living Dangerously

Lyric Contest Results

Broken Arrows

Pakistan’s Patrons

Bountiful Harvest for Year End Contest

Year-End Contest

Missile Defense Phobia

Making Messes in Space

Aging and Assertion

Gerard C. Smith

The Arms Crawl that Wasn’t

Magical Realism

Apogees of Dream-Catching

Career Counseling


Tragedy, Farce & Divorce

Plain Speaking

Second Wind

Securing Valuable Global Services

9/11 + 10

De-alerting and De-legitimization

Fail Safe

Afghan Non-End Game

Forecasting Proliferation

Liston vs. Ali

War and Proliferation


Deterrence and Escalation Control


Summer Reading for the Well-Read Wonk

Six Years Later (II)

Six Years Later (I)

Hunting, Muting, and Filtering

Hubert Horatio Humphrey

The Franck Report

Seven Days in May


An Abundance of Shoulds

Pakistan’s Nuclear Requirements


William C. Foster

The Advisors

Can Nuclear Deterrence Last?

Career Counseling

Expansion and Contraction

Gravity’s Gone

The Age of Extremes

Assured Destruction

The Adjacent Possible

Arms Control With and Without Agreements


A Serious Russian Space Proposal

The Well-Read Wonk

The Smyth Report

What Next?

Joint Verification Experiments

The First Conversation

New Year, New START

Victory Kudos

The Dance of the Veils

Hawks and Doves

And the Winners Are…

National Blindness & National Technical Means

The Bomb and the Common Cold

Everett McKinley Dirksen, He Ain’t

Best Quips Competition

The Long March II

The Stability-Instability Paradox

Cruise Missiles

Scare Tactics

Win, Lose or Draw?

Cold War Secrets

Space Diplomacy

The Unipolar Moment

The Flood

Working at the Margins


The Least Abhorrent Choice

Nuclear Optimism

Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons

The Stakes for New START

Nitze’s Strategic Concept

Indian Strategic Culture

Limited Nuclear Options


The Long March

Echoes of a Treaty Ratification Past

Negotiating the Limited Test Ban Treaty

Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy

Mea Culpa

Nightmare Scenarios for the NPT

Death by Number

Great Speeches

The Tripartite Agreement

Canada Reclaims its Space


Egypt, the Spoiler?


Exceptional India

Gardening and Arms Control

Treaty Signings

Unilateral Statements

Dysfunctional by Design

What is a Space Weapon?

Paranoids, Pygmies and Pariahs

Indian Nuclear Strategists

Career Counseling

Frontiers in Space

When Terrorists were West Germans

Vasili Alexandrovich Arkipov

Solvency, Show Biz and Security

George Bunn, The Norm Builder

Who was Ronald Reagan?

One War, Two Bombs?

At Year-End (A Thinly-Veiled Pep Talk)

Experts Predict 2010 Will Be Terrible

Death and Resurrection

History Proves…. What?

Command & Control in South Asia

Naysayers and Defenders of Arms Control

McGeorge Bundy

Sy Hersh and Pakistan’s Nukes

When Arms Control Gets Way Too Personal

Predicting Proliferation

The Turn

Sufficient Deterrence

MIRVs and Remorse, Sort Of

Defining Arms Control

Kenneth Waltz

Nuclear Nightmares & Abolition

Hidden Agendas and Missile Defenses

Herman Kahn

Treaty Math

ASAT Test Bans

Massive Retaliation

The Buddha on Arms Control

The Jackson Amendment

Morality and the Bomb

An Introduction to Non-introduction

Useful Fictions and Big Whoppers

Cold Warriors and High Quality Deterrence

A.Q. Khan and Samar Mubarakmand

Best One-Liners About the Bomb

K. Sundarji and India's Bomb

The Gilpatric Committee Report

Ike's Nuclear Legacy

Stimson on Dangerous States

The Well Read Wonk

LeMay on the Partial Test Ban

Essential Reading?

Most Recent Comments

  1. In: The Use and Misuse of Nuclear Fear

    Ben, Your moral equivalence escapes me. Are you by any chance affiliated with one of the warring parties? MK
  1. In: Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (II)

    Thank you for your kind words, Ken. As it happens, my next post deals with the missile defense implications of…
  1. In: Arms Control Implications of the War in Ukraine (II)

    thank you, Greg--


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