The Future of Nuclear Arms Control: Time for an Update
- Angela Kane, Noah Mayhew
- Content Type
- Working Paper
- Institute for Development and Peace
- Many consider the Reagan-Gorbachev prin- ciple that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” (Joint Soviet-United States Statement 1985) to be the clarion call for arms control. With this, US and Soviet leaders put words to the fundamental under- standing that arms control was sacrosanct in the context of other, unrelated issues in inter- national security.
In 2020, we live in a different reality where arms control by some experts has been reduced to “nuclear identity politics” (Ford 2020) while others claim that it is “practical- ly exhausted” (Yermakov 2020). Disconcert- ing as these sentiments may be, they contain a kernel of truth. Arms control in 2020 is still oriented to realities of the past. But if the arms race spirals into full force, it is humans who will be the losers. Hence, it is unhelp-
ful to dismiss arms control as an obsolete manifestation of Cold War nightmares. But
it is time for an update to address new global challenges, in particular quickly evolving geo- political realities and emerging technologies.
Furthermore, the silos in the debate on arms control need to be overcome.
- Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
- Political Geography
- Global Focus