• SHARE

Is nuclear arms control unraveling? The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has collapsed, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is teetering, and North Korea has continued to expand its nuclear and ballistic-missile arsenal. Worse, it is unclear whether the United States will stick with the New START Treaty when it expires in 2021. That agreement limits (at 3,000) the number of strategic weapons Russia and the U.S. have pointed at each other.

Fortunately, history offers some solace. During and after the Cold War, periods of arms control breakdown were typically followed by phases of reconstruction. But reversing course is never easy. When it comes to bringing Russia, Iran and North Korea into compliance, past experience shows that there are limits to what can be accomplished by leveraging alliances or pursuing military action. The remaining options are economic sanctions — which are effective only up to a point — and a further arms buildup, to induce renewed negotiations.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)