Far From Reset: Navigating U.S.-Russia Relations and Negotiating New START

U.S.-Russia relations continue to coast at a low point. Shaped by the ongoing sanctions regime, accusations of spreading disinformation, and already-elevated global tensions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are few cooperative areas to point out. In the near term, however, the U.S. and Russia will consider whether to extend the New START treaty, originally signed in 2010 under Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev; a distinct opportunity to highlight cooperation on a particularly tense issue in their relations: arms control. Following the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty last year, there has been much speculation on New START's future, and what it will mean for the U.S.-Russia relationship. Deep Cuts Commissioner Laura Kennedy participated as a speaker in an online webinar to discuss these issues, see the full webinar here

Podcast on New START

Deep Cuts Commissioner Andy Weber together with former NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller recorded a podcast on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). For 50 years, nuclear treaties between the U.S. and Russia have kept the unthinkable from happening: nuclear war. But New START is expiring soon, if it will not be extended - and the risks are increasing. Listen to the full podcast here

Nuclear Risk Reduction: Closing Pathways to Use

Reducing the risk of nuclear weapons has received renewed attention in a difficult geopolitical environment. This latest UNIDIR publication brings together a collection of expert viewpoints - inter alia by Deep Cuts Commissioner Ulrich Kühn - across a series of cross-cutting domains and geopolitical regions in which nuclear weapons feature. Each piece considers potential risk of use scenarios in those contexts, identifying risk drivers and underlying conditions, and presenting a series of concrete policy recommendations to address individual risk profiles. Part of UNIDIR’s ongoing research on nuclear risk reduction and following on from its recent publication “Nuclear Risk Reduction: A Framework for Analysis”, this study is intended to feed into the dialogue on taking forward risk reduction - and on the development of practical and feasible baskets of measures that can close pathways to use. Read more here

The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Arms Control in Europe

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, America and Russia have again returned to conflict. But this renewed confrontation did not come out of the blue. Rather, it was preceded by a long period of stagnation and a final crisis in the realm of arms control. In particular, the agreements of cooperative arms control in Europe eroded after the turn of the millennium. Why did that neatly established network of security agreements collapse? In this volume, Ulrich Kühn traces the rise and fall of cooperative arms control in Europe from the early Helsinki days to the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 2014. Applying a multi-theory approach in order to assess the foreign and security policies of the United States and Russia, he not only answers who is to blame for the sorry state of arms control, but he also uncovers a regime complex that has so far remained unknown and that spans across various organisations and institutions. Get more information and the book here

Why Germany won’t build its own nuclear weapons and remains skeptical of a Eurodeterrent

Aggressive Russian policies and the Trump administration’s transactional approach to alliances have put nuclear issues back on the agenda for European governments. Arguments for German acquisition of nuclear weapons have gained no traction among German decision makers, as this would require multiple costly and radical shifts of Berlin’s foreign and security policies. German-French convergence on the role of nuclear weapons in European security is a necessary – though not necessarily sufficient – precondition for a strengthened nuclear dimension to the EU’s security and defense policies. However, the different nuclear cultures in France and Germany, French aversion to nuclear consultations, and inter-European divisions on the role of nuclear weapons make it unlikely that Germany will support a Eurodeterrent anytime soon. In the short term, the German debate on NATO’s response to the end of the INF treaty and Berlin’s decision on new dual-capable aircraft to support NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements will be indicators of changing nuclear attitudes and policies. Read more on these issues in the latest piece of Deep Cuts Commissioner Oliver Meier here

Europe and the INF Crisis - Strength and Dialogue

Thirty-one years after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty entered into force in 1988, the Treaty is now all but dead. Europe is facing a new debate about nuclear weapons. The crisis surrounding the INF Treaty forces NATO allies to reconsider military and arms control responses. Only a healthy mix of strength and dialogue will guarantee allied unity. Read more on this debate in the latest article by Deep Cuts Commissioner Ulrich Kühn here

Kazakhstan - Once More a Testing Ground?

"Being a staunch supporter of international nuclear disarmament efforts since many years, a very recent and little noticed decision by the Kazakh parliament to approve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons could test the seriousness of nuclear disarmament supporters", argues Deep Cuts Commissioner Ulrich Kühn in his latest piece for Valdai Club here

Die Proliferation von Mittelstreckenwaffen: Implikationen für Rüstungskontrolle jenseits des INF-Vertrags

In his latest peace for the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Deep Cuts Commissioner Oliver Meier together with Yannic Arnold wrote a piece on the implications for arms control beyond the INF Treaty (German only), read more here

Can We Still Regulate Emerging Technologies?

The world was stunned when in 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Twenty years later, the world champion chess program, Stockfish 8, was beaten in a 100-game match up by AlphaZero, Google’s game-playing AI software. The big difference: AlphaZero taught itself how to play chess – in under four hours!  It does not take much imagination to see the potential for military applications in the future. That begs the question, is it already too late to regulate emerging technologies? Read more in Ulrich Kühn's latest op-ed for Valdai here

The End of Conventional Arms Control and the Role of US Congress

The renewed conflict between Russia and NATO has brought back security concerns over nuclear and conventional deterrence and defence in Europe. Since the days of the Cold War those two elements are closely intertwined, with direct ramifications on arms control policies. In his latest article, Ulrich Kühn challenges the mainstream view that Russia is solely to blame for the dissolution of conventional arms control and concludes that without solving the standstill, nuclear arms control for Europe will as well remain deadlocked. here

Five Ways to Save INF’s Legacy

Not only in Washington and Moscow, many analysts and experts argue these days that the impending demise of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty forecasts the end of arms control in general and a new round of nuclear competition – with the big difference that the new arms race will be less about numbers and more about quality, and that it will involve China as well. But it does not have to be that way. There are at least five underexplored arms control options that could save the legacy of INF, argues Ulrich Kühn in his latest article for Valdai here

The INF Quandary: Preventing a Nuclear Arms Race in Europe. Perspectives from the US, Russia and Germany

The INF Treaty, signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, was a profound achievement. It was the first bilateral nuclear arms control treaty to ban an entire class of weapons. It contained verification innovations such as continuous perimeter-portal monitoring. Most importantly, the INF Treaty reversed dangerous military trends in Europe that had left both sides less secure han they had been before such systems were deployed. Now, the treaty faces an existential threat posed by compliance issues that have prompted a U.S. decision to withdraw from it unless its concerns are allayed.

What last-minute efforts are possible to save the INF Treaty? If the INF Treaty cannot be saved, what does that mean for your country/region in the coming years? Could there be some sort of INF follow-on? What could a future arms control framework look like? Read the latest article by Ulrich Kühn, William H. Tobey and Pavel S. Zolotarev here

The New Arms Race and its Consequences

"With the decision by Donald Trump to pull out of the contested Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, another important piece of the European security architecture collapses. While experts and policymakers are still engaged in the ongoing blame game, perhaps we should try to look into the not too distant future and forecast what the end of INF could mean for European and international security." Read the latest article by Deep Cuts Commissioner Ulrich Kühn here.

Deterrence and its discontents

A new article by Ulrich Kühn, examining the deterrence fixation of the US defense establishment through the lens of Sigmund Freud, has just been published in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In this essay, Kühn uses psychoanalytic metaphors to explain why the United States does not currently have a long-term strategy for dealing with its most fundamental foreign policy challenges – and why it needs one, particularly as regards the global nuclear dilemma. The article is available behind a paywall here.

Last to Escape, First to Disarm? Three Scenarios of Peace and War on the Korean Peninsula

In his latest essay for the "Conflict Zone Asia-Pacific" reader of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, Ulrich Kuehn developed three scenarios ahead of the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore. One of the scenarios depicts an inconclusive summit with no tangible results that would, over time, lead the US to tacitly accept a deterrence relationship with the North - much to the detriment of the international non-proliferation order. Read more...