Mutually Assured Stability

Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, writing about tactical nuclear weapons in The Moscow Times (December 20, 2011), indicates: “Given the scarcity of benefits and abundance of costs of these arsenals, Moscow should join Washington in negotiating measures to bring tactical nukes into the realm of bilateral arms control. The two powers can start with defining the weapons and exchanging information on their past reductions and current stockpiles. They could then negotiate the verifiable reduction of their stockpiles and their consolidation in one or two of the best-guarded facilities.”

He concludes:  “It is time that Russia and United States move away from deterrence based on a 20th-century concept of mutually assured destruction. Instead, they should move toward what experts on both sides have referred to as mutually assured stability. Consolidation and reduction of tactical nuclear weapons will facilitate this transition, advancing both countries’ common vital interests in preventing the use of nuclear weapons. These measures will also allow Moscow to allocate more funds to building conventional forces capable of countering more imminent threats to Russia’s security, such as a low-intensity insurgency or local conflicts, without risking a nuclear Armageddon.”

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