What Moral Question Was At The Heart Of The Arms Race? Moral Panics, The Military

February 14, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 7 Are new treaties needed to control modern nuclear weapons?

By Jonathan Broder


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In recent years, the United States and Russia have withdrawn from several major agreements developed over 40 years to control the spread of nuclear weapons, citing violations by the other side. Those treaties created a climate of strategic stability, minimizing the chances of nuclear war. Without them, a new arms race, reminiscent of the Cold War years, has begun, as both sides develop ultramodern, super-fast weapon systems capable of delivering a nuclear device anywhere on the globe within 15 minutes. U.S. and Russian military leaders also have embraced doctrines that maintain that a limited nuclear war using small, tactical nuclear weapons can be won. The last remaining treaty limiting U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals will expire next February unless both countries agree to extend it. President Trump says he prefers to negotiate a broader pact that includes China, but Beijing has said it is not interested, and critics say a year is not enough time to negotiate such an ambitious accord. Meanwhile, a stalemate in talks over North Korea”s denuclearization has added uncertainty to the future of arms control, as has the U.S. withdrawal from an international agreement halting Iran”s development of nuclear weapons.
Russia”s Avangard vehicle, illustrated here, can deliver its nuclear warhead to any target on Earth in 15 minutes, traveling at more than 20 times the speed of sound. Washington and Moscow are in a new race to develop ultramodern nuclear weapons and faster delivery systems after withdrawing from several arms control agreements in recent decades. (Getty Images/TASS)

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Arms Control and Disarmament Feb. 14, 2020 The New Arms Race Dec. 13, 2013 Chemical and Biological Weapons Mar. 2010 Dangerous War Debris Oct. 02, 2009 Nuclear Disarmament

Jan. 27, 1995 Non-Proliferation Treaty at 25 Dec. 24, 1987 Defending Europe Feb. 22, 1985 Arms Control Negotiations Jun. 08, 1979 Strategic Arms Debate Apr. 09, 1969 Prospects for Arms Control Mar. 15, 1961 New Approaches to Disarmament Feb. 25, 1960 Struggle for Disarmament Nov. 07, 1958 Arms Control: 1958 Jun. 11, 1957 Inspection for Disarmament Jul. 11, 1955 Controlled Disarmament Oct. 09, 1933 The Disarmament Conference, 1933 Jan. 05, 1932 World Disarmament Conference of 1932 Apr. 08, 1929 Efforts Toward Disarmament Mar. 13, 1928 The League of Nations and Disarmament Feb. 22, 1927 The United States and Disarmament
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
Cold War
Defense Industry
General Defense and National Security
International Law and Agreements
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
U.S. at War: Cold War
U.S. at War: World War II
World War II

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