In the context of massive nuclear attacks, why isn’t the danger of nuclear winter widely seen as making nuclear retaliation redundant (as Ellsberg suggested on another 80K podcast episode)?
The US threatens to retaliate (with nukes) against anyone who nukes certain US allies—how credible is this threat, and why?
Part of how the US tries to make this threat more credible is by sharing nukes with some of its allies. How does this sharing work? Does the US share nukes in such a way that, in a crisis, a non-nuclear host country could easily seize and launch a nuke?
Why has the US relied on mutually assured destruction instead of minimal deterrence?
What are some ways in which recent developments in cybersecurity and machine learning interact with nuclear deterrence?
Why have the US and the USSR/Russia invested so much in making lots of land-based nuclear missiles? (If they were mainly trying to ensure their nuclear weapons would survive a first strike, wouldn’t it have been better to put that money toward making even more nuclear-armed submarines?)
Other questions on nuclear politics:
Why did it take decades after the first nuclear weapons for countries to sign nuclear nonproliferation and arms control agreements?
On verification of compliance with arms control agreements:
The US uses satellites to check whether Russia is following nuclear arms control agreements—as far as is publicly known, just how good are US spy satellites? What about commercial satellites?
The UN’s nuclear watchdog extensively monitors a bunch of nuclear power facilities, to make sure they’re not using uranium to make nukes. One might think it’d be helpful to also do these things at uranium mines, but they usually don’t do this—why not?
How good do you think current systems are at detecting secret nuclear facilities?
On what else to check out:
In addition to your own blog and podcast as well as this podcast, what are some of your favorite blogs or podcasts on nuclear security or international security?
(Edited to add a few.)
(I don’t know that there’s much of an EA consensus on nuclear weapons issues—and if there is, I don’t know what the consensus is—so these aren’t quite questions about what EA gets right/wrong on this.)
I think something that is not at all obvious from the outside is that in my estimate, at any given time, there is usually <2 FTE EA researchers who are thinking seriously about nuclear risk strategy from a longtermist angle (not counting advocacy, very junior trainee SERI/CERI researchers, people trying to get into policy position, scattershot work by grantmakers opportunistically evaluating nuclear grants, neartermist work, etc).