International Relations

The US has ‘destroyed’ the New Start Treaty, according to Moscow

  • After the US said Russia was not complying with their last remaining arms treaty, the New START treaty, Russia accused the US of destroying weapons control agreements.

New START Treaty

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) agreement, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads, missiles, and bombers, is set to expire in 2021 unless renewed.
  • The treaty limits the United States and Russia to a total of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, which is significantly lower than the Cold War caps.
  • Former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed it in 2010.
  • It is one of the most important constraints on the deployment of nuclear weapons by superpowers.

The History of US-Russia Nuclear Relations

  • The United States has formally withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)
  • The agreement required the two countries to eliminate all ground-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

When did the process of nuclear disarmament begin?

  • The two countries began arms control talks on three fronts in 1985.
  • The first dealt with strategic weapons with ranges greater than 5,500 kilometres, leading to the START treaty in 1991.
  • Both sides were limited to 1,600 strategic delivery vehicles and 6,000 warheads.
  • A second track dealt with intermediate-range missiles, which resulted in the 1987 INF Treaty.
  • A third track, Nuclear and Space Talks, was intended to address Soviet concerns about the United States’ Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), but it produced no results.

The Success of INF

  • Despite the fact that no nuclear warheads were dismantled, the INF Treaty was hailed as a great disarmament treaty.
  • Other countries were not restricted because it was a bilateral agreement.
  • The INF was in place by 1991. The USSR destroyed 1,846 Pershing and cruise missiles, while the US destroyed 846.
  • Associated manufacturing facilities were also shut down.
  • The INF Treaty was the first to include stringent verification measures, such as on-site inspections.

How has the nuclear situation evolved?

  • With the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in late 1991, former Soviet allies joined NATO and became EU members.
  • To maintain its technological lead, the United States was investing in missile defence and conventional global precision strike capabilities.
  • The United States announced its unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001. (ABM Treaty).
  • The US also blamed Russia for failing to meet the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty’s ‘zero-yield’ standard (CTBT). This could signal the start of a new nuclear arms race.

Implications of the New Beginning

  • The New START Act of 2011 expired in 2021. It could follow in the footsteps of the INF Treaty.
  • The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review called for the development of new nuclear weapons, including low-yield weapons.
  • With its nuclear force goals in mind, China is preparing to run its test site all year.
  • CTBT requires ratification by the United States, China, Iran, Israel, and Egypt, as well as adherence by India, Pakistan, and North Korea. It is unlikely to be implemented.

@the end

  • A new nuclear arms race could be just the start. Because multiple countries are involved, it may become more complicated.
  • Technological advancements are bringing the cyber and space domains into conflict. It increases the likelihood of an escalation.
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