Nuclear weapons conventionalisation has been referred to as ‘nuclear entanglement’, which essentially means the merger of nuclear and conventional weapons. Broadly understood, it manifests itself in the following ways.
Increased reliance on non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons:
As early as in his Dissenting Opinion to the Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion, Mohamed Shahabuddeen, a judge of the ICJ suggested that assuming tactical nuclear weapons could be no more destructive than conventional weapons, they should not be less lawful than the latter. Hence, placing nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) at the top of ‘conventionalisation agenda’ is not a brand-new idea. Besides, it has recently been emphasised in national strategies.
The most striking example is, of course, the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which radically departs from its predecessor in mandating the development of a range of nonstrategic low-yield nuclear options. The Trump administration considers this departure necessary as a response to Russia’s substantial reliance on and expansion of non-strategic nuclear arsenal, which considerably outstrips that of the US. At face value, this means that the two most powerful nuclear-weapon states have embarked upon the rapid expansion of their non-strategic nuclear options.
Trump claims to be a peace maker, but has started a new Cold War nuclear weapons race, both in space and on Earth. All of this is totally illegal, but who cares, because 45 is the ‘great decider’ and whatever he says must be done.