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Dangerous steps by Russia and Trump on nuclear arms control

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag_RussiaFlag-USATrump, Russia take a dangerous first step on nuclear arms control, The Hill, In a recent interview with the the London TimesDonald Trump suggested that he would offer to lift U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as part of a nuclear arms control agreement.

At a time when tensions between the two countries are growing, a verifiable and stabilizing new arms control agreement would be genuinely welcome. But a bad deal would only make matters worse.

The comments about sanctions relief raise real questions about whether the incoming administration is willing to pay any price to improve relations with Russia (and why).

 Today, both countries are making investments to replace nuclear systems that were first fielded during the Cold War. An agreement to limit these modernization plans could save money, stabilize the nuclear balance, and be safer to maintain and operate.

Under President Obama, the United States found that it could meet its deterrence requirements after a further one-third reduction in deployed strategic warheads, beyond what was agreed in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2010, and offered this deal to Russia.

A new arms control agreement would be difficult to achieve today. Putin declined Obama’s one-third offer and has signaled that he is not willing to negotiate over his most dangerous systems, its vast and opaque stocks of low-yield and short-range weapons.

At the same time, Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by developing a new prohibited cruise missile and indicated no real willingness to address the concerns of the United States and other treaty participants. Arms control accords are among the most consequential and the most difficult negotiations in the world, features that will surely attract Trump — but changing Putin’s position will be a very tall order.  …….


February 3, 2017 - Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war

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