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Democratic presidential candidates differed on whether the U.S. should remove the option of considering a first strike nuclear attack during a debate on Monday (July 30).

“The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively and we need to say so to the entire world. It reduces the likelihood that someone miscalculates, someone misunderstands,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said.

“I wouldn’t want to take that off the table,” Governor of Montana Steve Bullock said, adding “from a position of strength, we should be negotiating down so there aren’t nuclear weapons, but drawing those lines in the sand at this point, I wouldn’t do.”

The debate comes just months after a senior United Nations security expert said the risk of nuclear weapons being used is at its highest since World War II.

Renata Dwan, director of the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), said all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernization programs underway and the arms control landscape is changing, partly due to strategic competition between China and the United States.

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