There is no alternative

US-Russian nuclear arms control must restart. Now.

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The nuclear landscape today is far more complicated than it was during the Cold War. Tensions between the United States and Russia are at highs not seen, perhaps, since the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the same time, China appears to be aggressively increasing its nuclear capabilities, while North Korea conducted far more missile tests in 2022 than in any year since 1984. This environment is all the more reason to champion arms control over a potentially escalatory new arms race.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is the only remaining arms control treaty between the United States and Russia. It limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads each and provides a legally binding cap on what could otherwise become a nuclear arms race. New START is set to expire on February 5, 2026, and Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine has cast a shadow on prospects to negotiate a follow-on to this agreement. Retaining New START would be the most desirable outcome, but it would be wise to consider an alternative if no follow-on is agreed to by 2026.

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