Doomsday Dialectics: the Arms Race with Arms Limitations

Doomsday Dialectics:
the Arms Race with Arms Limitations

Arbatov A.G.,

Director, Center for International Security, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) RAS,

elibrary_id: 73079 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.03.03

For citation:

Arbatov A.G. Doomsday Dialectics: the Arms Race with Arms Limitations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 3. P. 27-48. (In Russ.).

The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation (project №18-18-00463 “Prospects of arms control under the effect of new military-political and technological factors”).


The world is sleepwalking to a fundamentally new stage in the state of international security – life in a nuclear and other arms race without any restrictions, rules and exchange of military information. The denunciation of the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range missiles (INF) is almost inevitable; START III Is likely to expire in 2021 without extension; and the next review conference of the Treaty on the non- proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) in 2020 is almost doomed to failure. However, the important experience of the past half-century is that the renunciation of treaties in this area has never enhanced the security of States, but has always weakened it. During the same time, the history of the arms race has given many examples of how the primacy in the creation of new weapons subsequently turned out to be a loss, not a gain, for the security of one side or another. The most important lesson is that nuclear deterrence can be a guarantee of peace only when combined with the maintenance and expansion of the nuclear arms control system and regimes. Today, the first priority is to save the INF Treaty, which is still possible. Then the agreement on the extension of the START III Treaty after 2021 or the urgent start of negotiations on the follow-on strategic treaty. After that, measures to strengthen the NPT. Only consistent disarmament steps in parallel with positive changes in the international political and strategic environment can enhance universal security in the coming century.

nuclear weapons, arms control, strategic nuclear forces, military programs, nuclear doctrines, launch-on-warning strike, disarming strike, hypersonic weapons systems, missile defense.


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Content No. 3, 2019

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