Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump has expressed interest in holding a military parade like those held in Moscow and developing the U.S. nuclear arsenal—while arms control experts urge the administration to adhere to decades-old non-proliferation treaties. (Photo: Leonid Faerberg/Flickr/cc)

Arms Control Experts Demand "Urgent Steps" to Constrain New Nuclear Arms Race

"Leaders in Washington and Moscow cannot afford to ignore their legal and political commitments on nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament."

Julia Conley

As Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin vow to develop and modernize their nuclear arsenals, more than three dozen arms control experts and officials from the U.S., Russia, and Europe on Wednesday warned that two key agreements limiting nuclear proliferation are in danger of collapsing, and urged Washington and Moscow to heed the warning that "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought."

"Leaders in Washington and Moscow cannot afford to ignore their legal and political commitments on nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament. Nor can they afford to neglect opportunities for serious dialogue to reduce and eliminate nuclear risk, especially now," reads the statement (pdf) by the Deep Cuts Commission, which urges nuclear states to downsize their arsenals and move towards diplomacy.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction (New START) Treaty of 2010, which calls for Russia and the U.S. to limit their nuclear arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads and 700 missiles with nuclear delivery capacity, is set to expire in February 2021. Russian officials suggested talks last year to extend the treaty, and both countries met the deal's requirements this past February—but the U.S. has so far refused to engage in dialogue.

"Now is the time for the United States and Russia to agree to extend New START until 2026. That would give the sides additional time to discuss what other arms control steps might be appropriate, perhaps in the condition of an improved political atmosphere," wrote the signatories of the statement, titled "Urgent Steps to Avoid a New Nuclear Arms Race and Dangerous Miscalculation."

The group also cautioned that the U.S. and Russia are potentially in non-compliance with the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which demanded the elimination of certain ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. The Trump administration has accused Russia of violating the treaty by developing a land-based missile, and Trump has threatened to develop a similar weapon.

As the Commission notes, "Currently, no meetings are scheduled to address the issue. A resolution of the dispute requires high-level leadership from the White House and the Kremlin."

The statement was released as fears of the Trump administration's increasingly hawkish stance grow. John Bolton, who became Trump's national security adviser earlier this month, has been critical of both the INF and the New START Treaty.

"We call on President Trump and President Putin to reaffirm the statement of Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev of 1985 that 'a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,' and to redouble efforts to maintain strategic stability, take practical steps to avoid accidents and miscalculation, preserve the INF Treaty, and agree—as soon as possible—to extend the New START agreement beyond 2021, regardless of whether or not the INF Treaty issue is resolved in advance," wrote the Commission.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

WATCH LIVE: House Panel Holds First Hearing on January 6 Insurrection

"Over six months later now, it's past time for the public to receive answers on the insurrection, and for those who stoked it to be held to account."

Common Dreams staff ·

Jesse Jackson, William Barber Among Dozens Arrested While Demanding Filibuster Repeal Outside Sinema's Office

"We've got to get these shackles off of our democracy," said Rev. William Barber.

Kenny Stancil ·

Ocasio-Cortez Warns Republicans Are Laying the Groundwork to 'Overturn Results' of Elections

"The time to fight like hell for democracy is right now. We may not get another chance."

Jake Johnson ·

3 Million People Have Died of Covid Since Rich Nations Began Obstructing Vaccine Patent Waiver

"Every one of those deaths is a mark of shame for the governments of countries like the U.K. and Germany who have protected patents over human lives."

Jake Johnson ·

27 Groups Urge Congress to Close FBI 'Backdoor Search' Loophole

"Ending this unconstitutional practice is imperative to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance does not swallow Americans' privacy rights."

Brett Wilkins ·