During the recent US presidential election the nuclear issue gained considerable prominence with the prospect of an unstable Donald J. Trump gaining access to the 'nuclear codes' a major theme used to discredit his candidacy. Unfortunately, the focus on Trump's character distracted attention from being placed on what nuclear policies his administration might actually pursue if he was elected, nor was any systematic attempt made to study his longstanding views of nuclear weapons. Following his victory, and in the early months of his administration, these topics have become matters of increasing relevance to the international community. This talk will therefore examine the nuclear legacy Obama has bequeathed to Trump, discuss the new president's background with respect to nuclear issues, and to place his likely policy preferences in the wider context of domestic and international constraining factors.
Jeffrey H Michaels is a Senior Lecturer with the Defence Studies Department, King's College London. He has also worked as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Egmont Institute in Brussels and as a Research Associate in the Department of War Studies at King's. Earlier experience included working for the US Defense Department and NATO. His current research is focused on preparation of a fourth edition of Sir Lawrence Freedman's 'The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy'. He is also working on a separate Cold War history project examining the politicization of NATO/Warsaw Pact military balance assessments.