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The Commission did not meet between and November , and it was during that year interval that US concerns about Russian cruise missiles emerged. Now Trump seems to have closed the argument by announcing withdrawal. Unless there is a timely change of approach by either side or both, the INF Treaty looks likely to be a dead letter by April It could be, however, that the announcement is intended as a manoeuvre to obtain Russian concessions on the alleged missile deployment or on other aspects of an increasingly tense Russian—US relationship.

Arms control is in deep trouble. As a result, Russia cannot verify them in the way the treaty says it must be able to. It seems likely that the precarious situation of Russian—US arms control will simultaneously put increasing pressure on the overall nuclear non-proliferation regime and sharpen the arguments about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons TPNW, or the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

For the advocates of what is often known as the nuclear ban, the erosion of arms control reinforces the case for moving forward to a world without nuclear weapons. For its opponents, the erosion of arms control shows the world is not at all ready for or capable of a nuclear ban. The risk of a return to nuclear weapon build-ups by both Russia and the USA is clear. With it, the degree of safety gained with the end of the cold war and enjoyed since then is at risk of being lost. Aware of the well-earned reputation for springing surprises that the Russian and US presidents both have, there may be more developments in one direction or another in the coming weeks or even days.

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The Demise of the INF Treaty

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Ramesh Bhushal Global. Kimball Global. Washington did not object. However, the Soviet Union did not adhere to this position for long.

Does Trump Want a Nuclear Arms Race Because Obama Didn’t? – Foreign Policy

Later, Moscow removed this category of weapons from the initial package, after which, in December , the parties signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty INF Treaty , which is of unlimited duration. For a much longer time, almost until all provisions of the START I Treaty were agreed, the Soviet Union insisted on a linkage between strategic offensive and defensive weapons, which was reflected in official statements and the structure of the Soviet delegation to the talks.

Moscow sent one delegation to the talks on these two types of weapons. Negotiations on defense and outer space were conducted by a separate group within the delegation. The United States was represented by two separate delegations. This experience proves that one real way to accommodate concerns is to conclude separate agreements on the most pressing security problems, including missile defense, precision-guided long-range weapons, and space weapons.

New START at a Glance

Speaking of concrete ways to accommodate concerns, one should assess, at least approximately, the effect of missile defense, precision-guided weapons and space weapons on the Russian-U. First of all, let us note an interesting circumstance. When it comes to the effect of various factors on the strategic balance, Russian officials insisting that this effect should be taken into account somehow fail to mention air defense.

If we follow this logic, then any weapons capable of combating strategic offensive weapons should be included in the overall balance of power, especially if they are intended to combat retaliatory systems. These weapons definitely include the aviation component of the strategic triad. Without going into further discussion, let us note that this omission of air defense issues seems to be due to some other considerations than a desire to strengthen strategic stability.

Of the remaining three categories of weapons, which, in the opinion of the Russian leadership, have an effect on the strategic balance, space weapons are the most interesting from the point of view of concluding a possible agreement. The fact is, there are no such weapons yet, as far as we know. Therefore, they have no effect on the strategic balance. The most skeptical participants in discussions said that such systems would appear in 20 to 25 years at the earliest.

There are no serious reasons, either, to suggest that space weapons will be in the strategic arsenal of the United States or other countries within the next two to three decades, even if new technologies make this possible.

Fifty Years of Arms Control

In this case, the following factors will come into play: cost, combat effectiveness of weapon systems, their vulnerability, and possible reaction from the domestic opposition, individual countries and the international community as a whole. These factors may not only slow down but prevent the militarization of space. Unfortunately, such an agreement can hardly be based on the draft international Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects, submitted by China and Russia to the Conference on Disarmament in and its updated version, submitted in The draft only proposed preventing the deployment of weapons in outer space and made no mention of prohibiting their development or testing in space.

Nor did it mention weapons deployed on Earth but capable of destroying outer space objects. Criticisms of this document can be continued, but the main problem is whether it is possible to reach a verifiable agreement on limiting or banning space weapons, whatever this term might mean, even if all parties show real interest in it. There are more doubts than optimism regarding this possibility.

Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty

Answering this question requires more than just efforts by diplomats, the military and developers of space weapons. More experts should be involved in these efforts, including scientists from countries that may be parties to future agreements. Another interesting question concerns long-range precision-guided conventional weapons and their effect on the strategic balance.

According to the majority of specialists, this type of weapons includes cruise missiles, non-nuclear ICBMs, and some weapon systems for example, hypersonic gliders. As a rule, the degree of effect such weapons may have on the strategic balance is not assessed. Nevertheless, it is asserted that they can not only weaken but also undermine strategic stability.

This is a doubtful statement. If we view these systems from the point of view of strengthening the offensive capability, they are absolutely incommensurable with nuclear weapons in terms of power. Precision-guided weapons are absolutely unsuitable for preemptive strikes for many reasons.

Destroying a hard target with a conventional warhead requires this accuracy of not more than several meters, which is impossible to achieve at the present technological level of these systems. But this is not the main concern. Such an attack cannot go unnoticed due to a missile warning system.

There is no guarantee that the attacked party will not use nuclear warning systems when it receives information confirming the attack. So, it does not really matter to the victim of such aggression whether the approaching ICBMs carry nuclear or conventional warheads. The response will almost certainly be nuclear, with all the ensuing consequences. Finally, one more important argument is that if Russia or the United States decides to deploy a great number of non-nuclear ICBMs, they will most likely have to do this at the expense of their own strategic nuclear weapons.

In order for non-nuclear ICBMs not to be counted under the treaty, one needs to create a new strategic delivery vehicle and prove that this weapon system is not covered by this treaty. This will be very hard to do, given the strained Russian-American relations. Unilateral actions will most likely lead to the collapse of this international agreement. As regards cruise missiles as an element of precision-guided weapons, one important issue should be clarified above all. In other words, in the opinion of Russia and the United States, they are not strategic weapons.

Each heavy bomber carrying nuclear-tipped air-launched cruise missiles is counted as one delivery vehicle and one warhead, no matter how many missiles it may carry. Sea-launched cruise missiles are not covered by this treaty at all. In this case, however, it is completely unclear why long-range nuclear cruise missiles do not affect the strategic balance between the parties, as Moscow and Washington stated in the above-mentioned agreement, whereas similar conventional weapons should undermine strategic stability, especially since some studies show that conventional cruise missiles are not capable of destroying highly protected strategic offensive weapons.

It is believed in Russia that the most serious threat to strategic stability comes from missile defense. However, there is much more ambiguity in this issue than evidence confirmed by practice. First of all, many experts and politicians follow a strange logic when talking about missile defense issues, and their logic differs significantly from the normal perception of the security problem. For example, it is claimed that the U. But such a threat can be translated into action only after Russia strikes with ballistic missiles.

For as long as these missiles are not used, missile defense does not threaten them. It is this retaliatory strike that will have to be intercepted by missile defense. This abstract and senseless reasoning underlies the logic of missile defense opponents who denounce any programs for creating and deploying missile defense. They view such efforts as an attempt to achieve military superiority and create conditions for victory in a nuclear war. Debates over the effect of missile defense on strategic stability have been going on for sixty years, so there is no need to cite here all arguments for and against, set forth in numerous publications.

Let us only note that these debates were largely held in the U. In the Soviet Union and Russia, an overwhelming majority of experts shared the view that the development of missile defense systems undermines strategic stability, increasing the probability of a first strike in crisis situations and spurring a race in strategic arms in all areas. As a rule, the debates focused on the assessment of effectiveness of missile defense systems and time required for the deployment of new weapon systems.