Second, Russia`s approach to treaty compliance varies considerably at the international level depending on its objectives. At a time when the Kremlin was still seeking an approach to cooperation and reconciliation with Western countries, compliance with agreements was much more the norm. Whenever Russia has tried to reorganize the international system to its advantage, it has considered compliance with obligations and commitments to the core as optional. This could result in considerable pressure to widen the bargaining room. But it is a mistake to give in to this pressure. It is precisely because relations between Russia and the United States are so bad that there is little chance of concluding a comprehensive agreement with capabilities as sensitive as non-strategic nuclear warheads and ballistic defence. Excessive ambitions could lead to a total collapse of negotiations and, therefore, the emergence of a more regulated deterrence relationship, vulnerable to dangerous arms races and escalation. The Senate should advise and approve future arms negotiations that will lead to a new treaty. The Senate also plays a role in supporting the U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program.
Given their competitive ambitions, it is therefore not clear that Russia or the PRC take compliance with arms controls seriously if they feel they are getting away with fraud. This is, I fear, the dark lesson of history. Russia and the United States have nuclear forces that could destroy states and much of the rest of the world, several times more in a matter of minutes. Over most of the past five decades, a number of contracts have regulated these arsenals. Today, only one of these contracts – New START – is in effect and expires on February 5, 2021. An end to nuclear arms control would undermine the security of Russia and the United States. The two states should therefore begin negotiations for a mutually beneficial follow-up agreement and, in order to buy time for this process, extend New START. This document proposes important provisions for a follow-up contract. One of the first recorded attempts in arms control was a set of rules established in ancient Greece by the Amphictyonic Leagues. The judgments defined how the war could be conducted and the offences could be punished with fines or penalties.