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Winning and losing the nuclear peace

HOW TO AVOID NUCLEAR WAR, War on the Rocks, MICHAEL KREPON  8 Nov 21,  Arms control has become passéRussian and U.S. leaders have cast aside treaties as inconvenient to their pursuit of freedom of action. Republican presidents produced great arms control achievements. At present, most Republican senators and aspirants for higher office denigrate arms control and treaty-making as a failedunnecessary, and unwise pursuit. Arms control provided necessary guardrails in the past. Now, dangerous military practices are on the rise, especially in Ukraine and across the Taiwan Strait. U.S.-Chinese relations are trending toward crisis. Four nuclear-armed states in Asia — ChinaPakistanIndia, and North Korea — are increasing their nuclear arsenals. Every nuclear-armed competitor is relying increasingly on deterrence as the diplomacy of arms control is in the doldrums. If unaltered, these trend lines point toward tragedy.

Many have forgotten what is crucial to remember: Deterrence is dangerous by design and has a track record of failure in lesser cases. ……………………………………..

Those who denigrate arms control forget that, by the end of the Cold War, conditions for lasting nuclear peace were in hand — not because of strengthened deterrence, but because champions of deterrence adopted the practices of arms control. The United States and Russia were no longer enemies. Crucial norms were in place alongside the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which codified national vulnerability, thereby removing one incentive for increased nuclear force levels. Strategic forces were no longer threatening: Indeed, Boris Yeltsin agreed in the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to the prohibition of land-based missiles carrying multiple warheads. Conditions for strategic, crisis, and arms race stability were therefore at hand. Deep cuts were envisioned. Dangerous military practices were absent. Major powers respected the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of others.

This was the inheritance that Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump found unnecessary and inconvenient. ……………………..

In my book, Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control, I propose that we embrace an ambitious goal of extending the three norms of no use, no testing, and no new proliferation to the 100th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…………………………………………..

Michael Krepon is the co-founder of the Stimson Center and the author of Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control, from which this essay is drawn.


November 9, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print, weapons and war

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