Problems and Dilemmas of the Next Start Treaty

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-6-5-20
A. Arbatov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 28.02.2021.

Abstract. In the end of January 2021, the New START Treaty was extended by five years by the United States and Russia. Thus, the two nuclear superpowers have time to work on the follow-on treaty not in a strategic vacuum, but relying on the valid treaty and its system of transparency and predictability. The promoters of abolishing negotiations on arms limitation and their substitution by amorphous multilateral discussions of “a general philosophy of strategic stability”, who have been highly active during recent years, have temporarily shied away, but probably not for long. The predictable difficulties of the forthcoming negotiations would be interpreted as the evidence of their impending doom, and this may turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy and once again deadlock the dialogue. During the previous decades, the development of the military technologies and new strategic concepts have changed strategic relationship of the parties. This was happening against the background of deteriorating political relations, a long pause of arms control negotiations and abrogation of a number of crucial disarmament treaties. Now the two sides have to catch up. Already it is possible to foresee the main differences of their positions. Washington is emphasizing deep reduction of the nuclear arms of the two superpowers – both strategic and tactical. Moscow has advanced a concept of “security equation”, which implies limitation of offensive and defensive arms – both nuclear and nonnuclear. There will be a great demand for strong political will and wisdom of the leaders of the two nations and of hard work and professionalism of civilian and military experts – in order to restore arms control, which has historically proved its effectiveness as a barrier in preventing nuclear war and as a stabilizer of turbulent world politics.

Keywords: nuclear weapons, arms limitation and reduction, treaties’ counting rules and verification, precisionguided conventional arms, ballistic, cruise and hypersonic gliding missiles, ballistic missile defense, space arms, cyber warfare


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For citation:
Arbatov A. Problems and Dilemmas of the Next Start Treaty. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 6, pp. 5-20.

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