Nobody wins a nuclear war—especially not two nuclear behemoths

By Daniel R. DePetris

U.S. and Russian officials met this week in Geneva for what one hopes will be new strategic arms reduction talks. Trump administration officials are cautiously optimistic the discussions could lead to a more substantive negotiation about capping—and perhaps even decreasing—the number of nuclear weapons both countries have in their stockpiles. This matters for U.S. and global security because these two nations possess more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons.

President Trump, however, wants to go further than a simple extension of the 2010 The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) agreement or a new bilateral treaty with the Russians. Instead, he is prodding China to join a trivariate arrangement. But in prefacing or linking an extension of New START to a fresh accord that includes the Chinese, the administration is increasing the possibility of ending up with neither.

For one, pushing Beijing to into a three-way deal is like pushing on a locked door. The Chinese have shown no interest in a three-way deal, in large measure because their nuclear arsenal is a fraction (roughly 2 percent) of the globe’s entire inventory.

This piece was originally published by The Hill on July 17, 2019. Read more HERE.