The United States’ decision to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia is coming under fire from some experts on nuclear nonproliferation. These critics fear that sharing the sensitive nuclear reactor technology needed to propel such vessels will set a dangerous precedent and open a new pathway for states to acquire nuclear weapons.

These concerns are overblown. Furthermore, they are outweighed by the clear security benefits of the deal—in particular, the fact that the sale will enhance Washington’s ability to counter Beijing both militarily and politically. There are significant military advantages to deploying nuclear-powered submarines, as opposed to the conventionally

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  • CAITLIN TALMADGE is Associate Professor of Security Studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
  • More By Caitlin Talmadge