To Move Back From the Brink, Restart Nuclear Talks

Over the long course of the nuclear age, millions of people—from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the United States, Russia, and around the globe—have stood up to demand meaningful action to halt arms racing, end nuclear weapons testing, reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons, and move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. But without renewed public pressure and focused international demands for renewed disarmament diplomacy between Washington and Moscow, a dangerous, unconstrained global nuclear arms race is on the horizon. Already unsteady and dangerous relations between Moscow and Washington would become far worse.

Through the Cold War years, Soviet and American leaders from time to time responded to public calls for action to eliminate the nuclear threat and recognized the value arms control in creating more stable and predictable international relations. In the wake of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, they began to work together to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons through the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to slow the arms race through a series of bilateral arms control and arms reduction agreements. These agreements constrained nuclear competition, reduced nuclear stockpiles, and reduced the threat of nuclear war.

But there is no room for complacency. The nuclear weapons threat has not gone away. Nuclear competition is accelerating, and the danger of a conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries is growing.

Read the full op-ed, published August 11, 2023, in The Nation.