What happens now after Russia suspends the last nuclear arms treaty with the U.S.?






A woman watches the telecast of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech in Simferopol, Crimea, on Tuesday. Putin has announced that Russia will suspend its participation in the new START nuclear weapons ban treaty.

AFP via Getty Images

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A woman watches the telecast of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech in Simferopol, Crimea, on Tuesday. Putin has announced that Russia will suspend its participation in the new START nuclear weapons ban treaty.


AFP via Getty Images


In 1985, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan made a breakthrough by jointly declaring that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

That word has been invoked and lives on by the leaders of both countries. It was just reaffirmed in January 2022 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Biden, and the leaders of China, France and the UK, all of whom possess nuclear weapons and are permanent members of the UN Security Council. But the following month, Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with Russia using the nuclear threat to threaten other countries to intervene.
Putin has now said that Russia has “suspended its participation” in the New START. This is the last nuclear weapons deal between the United States and Russia. This agreement, which took effect in 2011, will expire in February 2026.
The new START allows countries to verify compliance with their arms agreements by inspecting each other’s nuclear weapons several times a year. The treaty also mandates regular communication on various military equipment and operations to avoid misunderstandings and accidents.


Russia and the United States hold the overwhelming majority of the world’s nuclear arsenals, with approximately 4,000 warheads each.
putin has made it clear that Russia will not abandon the treaty altogether, and the country said Tuesday it would not seek to stockpile nuclear weapons.
To find out what Putin and Russia hope this move will bring, and how it will affect the overall security landscape, we spoke to two of his experts. I heard and Sarah Bidgood, director of the Eurasian Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California.
Your answer has been slightly edited for length and clarity.

First of all, are we headed for a new nuclear arms race?
“I think you could argue that we are already moving in that direction, but it depends on what Putin means when he says he will stop Russia from joining New START,” he said. I was.
“President Putin is not saying, ‘Break through the treaty borders and deploy thousands more nuclear weapons,'” Rasta said. “I think it’s about the legal justification for not resuming regulation.” [Details below. ]

“Regardless of what happens, this development does not bode well for future arms control and containment of the arms race,” Bidgood said.
“We are not in a nuclear arms race today,” said Luster. “But the bottom line is that the final nuclear treaty governing the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia will come into force, so we are very concerned that it will be so soon. It’s under incredible strain, it could disband, it could die in three years, and there’s no dialogue between the US and Russia about what happens after that.

Has the US already accused Russia of violating the New START Agreement?
The contract includes on-site testing, which has been discontinued due to mutual agreement regarding COVID-19 protocols. For months the US has been trying to revive them. Russia refused.
“The State Department’s new START Annual Implementation Report 2023 stated that Russia failed to comply with the treaty by not allowing the United States to conduct on-site inspections and convening a meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Committee (BCC). We found an established timeline,” said Bidgood.


Russia has said it will continue to notify the United States of all ballistic missile launches, but has not specified whether it will continue to send notifications regarding the movement of a wide range of strategic military assets.
“Send a notification whenever a strategic commodity covered by the treaty, such as a bomber or submarine, is moved,” Luster said. “They are very important and they run seamlessly,” he says, even without inspections. “If Russia stopped sharing data and notifications under the treaty, it would be significantly more difficult to verify Russia’s compliance with the treaty’s boundaries, in addition to BCC on-site inspections and meetings.” said Bidgood. “It would also eliminate a critical source of transparency, predictability, and regular communication between Washington and Moscow that is needed more than ever.”

A day after Biden’s visit to Ukraine, Putin suspended Russia’s involvement in the nuclear deal. Is it a coincidence?
Putin and his government accuse the United States of waging a mixed war against Russia and viciously escalating the conflict in Ukraine because the United States has fundamentally altered the security environment.
“I think it has more to do with the fact that the United States formally identified Russia as a treaty violator two weeks ago,” Rasta said. Russians are advocating legal reasons why they have the right not to conduct New START on-site inspections. I honestly don’t think it had anything to do with Biden’s visit.”

“‘Pause’ is an art term (meaning it has a specific legal meaning),” Luster said. “If a party fails to honor the contract, that is he one of the options available to the victim. It means you should.
“Russia more generally associates it with aid to Ukraine. I doubt a U.S. State Department attorney would say this is a legitimate use of this kind of right under international law.”

“Russian leadership no longer believes that arms control with the United States should be decoupled from the great ups and downs of bilateral relations, as it did during the most difficult times of the Cold War,” Bidgood said. It shows no,” he said. .

“Nuclear arms control has been treated as something that must continue for our mutual benefit,” said Luster. “We are now fully infected with the broader geopolitical differences between the United States and Russia.

Have deals like this survived the party that announced hitting the pause button?
“I know nothing about it,” Bidgood said. “But what I think is important, as Andrei Bakhritsky of the [United Nations Institute for Disarmament Studies] points out, is that suspension of participation is a political decision that can be undone. The question is, under what circumstances does this happen or could happen? “I don’t know if this deal will survive the end of the term. I don’t know how Mr. Luster will have other arrangements to replace him if he can’t even get to the negotiating table. It will probably be 70 years before the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals are fully unrestricted.”

How about the famous saying that we can’t win a nuclear war? Is the weight the same as before? Or is that power eroding along with nuclear control?
“I think the implications will depend a lot on how states act,” Bidgood said. “If, like Putin, you claim that you can’t and should never win a nuclear war, while at the same time threatening nuclear weapons, those words sound pretty hollow to me. .

“In January 2022, the leaders of the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom jointly issued this statement in writing for the first time,” said Mr. Luster. “It’s really important,” she added. “And it should be a platform where we can step out of this chasm we’ve walked through and take meaningful steps to keep nuclear war from happening. No way,” she wins. And it can’t even advance Putin’s war goals in Ukraine and around the world. ”

This is the last nuclear weapons deal between the US and Russia. But what about the broader Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?
“The non-proliferation treaty is an integral part of the non-proliferation and disarmament regime,” Bidgood said. “Article 6 of the Treaty calls for all States Parties, nuclear-weapon States and non-States alike, to “effective measures for the early end of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament, and the commitment to good faith for the treaty in general.” “Complete disarmament under strict and effective conditions.”

“It creates an obligation to start negotiations,” Bidgood said. But what we need is the outcome of those negotiations. ”

Inspections are also included in the NPT, which came into force in 1970 and has 191 signatories. But between her two largest nuclear powers in the world, they lack the reciprocal link that New START provides.


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