Washington, DC – The United States and Russia, as possessors of 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, have a unique responsibility to maintain a regular bilateral dialogue to reduce the threat that nuclear weapons pose. Indeed, the understanding of this shared responsibility has led to the reduction of deployed nuclear weapons by 80 percent since the height of the Cold War. The Biden-Harris administration’s quick decision to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which caps the number of deployed U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, is a clear recognition that President Biden understands that the U.S. has a vital role to play in reducing the threat of nuclear weapons.
Foreign Policy for America applauds Presidents Biden and Putin for affirming that there are no winners in a nuclear war and must therefore never be fought and that the United States and Russia will regularly conduct strategic stability talks. The statement today sends a strong message to the world that the U.S. is serious about reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. There are several areas in which the U.S. and Russia must engage in order to reduce tensions and ensure strategic stability, including cyber threats, intermediate-range missiles, missile defenses, hypersonic technologies, and space-based assets. We look forward to hearing more details about the future of U.S.-Russian arms control.
The commitment to engage in a regular strategic stability dialogue only heightens the need for the Biden-Harris administration’s Senate-confirmed appointments to assume their positions. We note with disappointment that the position presumably charged with leading the State Department’s arms control efforts remains vacant due to Senate inaction. We urge the Senate to take swift action to confirm the experienced and qualified nominees that remain unconfirmed.
“No one was looking for a reset of U.S.-Russia relations given the deep divisions over policies and actions, but a restart of a serious, sustained strategic stability dialogue is a hugely needed and valuable outcome – not only for these two states who control 90 % of the world’s nuclear weapons, but for the entire global community,” said Ambassador Laura Kennedy, FP4A Board member and former U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. “To seize this new opportunity, the U.S. must get its new senior arms control team confirmed. Bilaterally, the sides should also seek to resolve the damaging limits placed on each other’s diplomatic establishments. The U.S. can build on this new momentum and renew its outreach and leadership within the fractured Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty community, beset by multiple postponements of its quinquennial Review Conference.”