On February 17, ASP Chief Operating Officer Matthew Wallin penned an op-ed in The Hill, titled “New START Treaty is Worth Saving”. In the piece, Wallin explored the value of the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in reducing the risks of a nuclear confrontation and weighed the dangers of Russia’s non-compliance, writing:
“With New START being the only remaining nuclear treaty between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, and Russia appearing it may no longer have in interest in complying with or replacing this treaty, we may find ourselves back in the midst of a nuclear arms race, along with the inevitable standoffs and accidents that will follow. Despite Russia’s claims that it wishes to preserve the treaty, its actions say otherwise.”
In reaction to Russia, the U.S. could activate the treaty’s withdrawal mechanism and then build and deploy as many strategic nuclear weapons or launchers it wanted, even beyond Cold War levels. Although, this course of action would be unnecessary, as Wallin advises:
“Nuclear deterrence through mutually assured destruction needs only to be achievable once, rather than several times over. Instead of giving in to the temptation of a nuclear arms race in order to outspend or outbuild Russia if the treaty dies, the U.S. should independently determine what it needs for an effective nuclear deterrent and maintain that level. Based on the 1,550 limit in New START, it’s clear this is sufficient, if not more than sufficient to deter both Russia and China…”
The full op-ed is available at The Hill.