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Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Policy Brief  No.25 - November, 2018

INF Weapons: Status, Modernisations, and Arms Control Prospects

Over the past 30 years, arms control treaties and unilateral initiatives have resulted in the destruction of more than 50,000 nuclear warheads.1 The vast majority of those warheads were Russian and U.S. weapons. These accomplishments reflected a political will and conviction that nuclear forces had to be constrained and the role of nuclear weapons reduced.

Over the past decade, however, both the will and conviction have changed. Instead, Russia and the United States – and by extension also NATO – are now embroiled in a deepening political clash that has rekindled Cold War rhetoric and triggered significant changes in military postures and strategies. Although less of an ideological clash and intensity compared with the old Cold War, the changes contain all the building blocks needed to create a new one.