Image credit: CNAS
February 21, 2023
Putin’s Move on Nuclear Treaty May Signal End to Formal Arms Control
Source: The New York Times
Journalist David E. Sanger
It was a reminder of how fragile the scant remaining restraints on nuclear weapons worldwide appear, 14 years after President Barack Obama, in a signature speech in Prague, called on all powers to work toward “a world without nuclear weapons.” While Mr. Obama acknowledged he might not see that day in his lifetime, it seemed, for a brief while, that the major nuclear powers were on a path to shrinking their arsenals — and relying less on nuclear weapons for defense and deterrence.
That day appears over, at least for the foreseeable future.
“With Russia breaking treaties, China building up, North Korea testing missiles and Iran now close to weapons-grade uranium, it is a bad period for nuclear stability and restraint,” said Jon Wolfsthal, a senior adviser to Global Zero, a group that advocates the abolition of nuclear weapons, and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
Mr. Wolfsthal, who worked for President Biden when he was vice president, and then for Mr. Obama’s national security council on arms control, said he feared Mr. Putin’s declaration, while more a political declaration than a military one, “is likely to stoke the growing calls for the U.S. to expand its nuclear arsenal to both compete with Russia and show China they cannot catch us.”
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