Nuclear Weapons

Jan 23, 2019

Perhaps no area of US-Russia cooperation is more critical to global security than nuclear weapons. The challenges fall into two categories: limiting the development of more nuclear weapons by the established nuclear powers, and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to countries beyond that group.

Yet, in this area, the two have failed to deliver on the sense of promise that followed the end of the Cold War. Since then, new challenges have emerged—the number of nuclear powers has multiplied, and both countries have moved to modernize their nuclear arsenals.

What are the current stakes of this question, and how are the United States and Russia working together, or not, to address these challenges?

The US and Russia have demonstrated they can live without each other, says Alexander Ilitchev, a former representative of the Russian delegation to the United Nations. Nowhere is this clearer than with the ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

But can the global security challenge of a nuclear-armed North Korea be solved without cooperation between the world’s two nuclear superpowers?

Both the US and Russia have recently moved to upgrade their nuclear arsenals. The danger of nuclear conflict, accident, or mistake involving the two nuclear superpowers cannot be ignored, says William Potter of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies.

Cooperation between the US and Russian on the issue of nuclear weapons has reached a low point. What will it take to turn things around? Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov offers his perspective on the state of US-Russia relations today.

We could once imagine a world without nuclear weapons. But global progress in stemming the spread of these weapons has stalled, in large part because the two most important nuclear powers – the US and Russia – have found themselves in conflict. IGA chats with Egyptian diplomat Mahmoud Karem about the importance of the US-Russia relationship in addressing nuclear security.

A brighter future for all
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