In each month's issue of Arms Control Today, executive director Daryl Kimball provides an editorial perspective on a critical arms control issue. These monthly “Focus” editorials are available for reprint on a non-exclusive basis with permission from the Arms Control Association and link to the original publication online.
The experience of the Cold War teaches us that an unconstrained arms race has no winners, only losers. Leaders in Beijing, Moscow, and Washington need to engage in nuclear risk reduction talks, negotiate sensible and verifiable reductions of their arsenals, and refrain from building new destabilizing types of weapons rather than proceed down the dangerous path of unconstrained nuclear competition.
Curbing the spread of nuclear weapons and the uranium-enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technologies needed to make them has long been in U.S. security interests.
Although it has not yet formally entered into force, the CTBT is one of the most successful agreements in the long history of nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. But as with other critical nuclear risk reduction, nonproliferation, and arms control agreements, the CTBT is under threat due to inattention, diplomatic sclerosis, and worsening relations between nuclear-armed adversaries.
Deteriorating relations between the major nuclear powers have stymied progress on nuclear arms control and disarmament for more than a decade. As bleak as the situation is, however, reports of the death of nuclear arms control are greatly exaggerated, and last month, the Biden administration outlined a viable path for moving back from the nuclear brink that deserves serious attention and support.
The decades-long effort to halt and reverse an arms race involving the world’s deadliest weapons may soon number among the casualties of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of independent, non-nuclear Ukraine and his increasingly reckless nuclear threats.
The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has changed the global debate on the advisability, legality, and morality of the continued possession and modernization of nuclear weapons for the better.
After more than a decade of deteriorating relations and dithering on disarmament, the three largest nuclear powers—Russia, the United States, and China—are on the verge of an unconstrained era of dangerous nuclear competition.
Even before his disastrous decision to invade Ukraine last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin had demonstrated a malign indifference toward basic norms of international behavior, an uneven record of compliance with cornerstone arms control agreements, and a penchant for bullying and using deadly force against opponents.
Since the end of the Cold War, every U.S. president has conducted an in-depth review of the nation's nuclear strategy.
Sixty years ago this month, the Soviet Union and the world teetered on the edge of nuclear Armageddon over Russian missile deployments in Cuba.
In addition to increasing human suffering and reminding the world of the risks of nuclear weapons, the Russian war on Ukraine halted U.S. and Russian arms control talks that are necessary to maintain verifiable caps on, perhaps even reduce, the world’s largest nuclear arsenals. But now there is an opportunity for renewing disarmament diplomacy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats of possible use of nuclear weapons against any state that might interfere with Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine have reawakened the world to the dangers of nuclear war.
At this time of heightened nuclear danger, responsible NPT states must act with urgency to reinforce norms against nuclear weapons, push back against Russia’s nuclear bullying, and strengthen their commitment to reverse the arms race, avoid nuclear war, and eliminate nuclear weapons.