Senior Policy Director John Erath spoke with Time Magazine about Russia’s announcement that it is suspending New START participation.
“Putin’s announcement is merely an official stamp of approval on what they’ve already been doing,” says John Erath, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
The New START treaty imposes multiple limits on the amount of nuclear weapons, capping each country at 1,550 deployed long-range nuclear warheads, 700 deployed long-range nuclear delivery vehicles, and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers and delivery vehicles.
A key element of New START is mutual inspections; up to 18 site visits are allowed a year but Russia and the U.S. suspended them during the COVID-19 pandemic and last fall Moscow refused to resume them. “Without verification, there is no confidence that the other side is not cheating,” Erath says. If that component is absent, “it means nothing.”
The premise of Mutually Assured Destruction also means that both the U.S. and Russia already have large arsenals that have long worried experts and nonproliferation activists. Erath says that despite Putin’s announcement on Tuesday, there is no evidence that Russia is building more nukes. “They don’t need to; they have plenty to deter a nuclear war,” he says. Read more