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"I want to tell you that your fact sheet on the [Missile Technology Control Regime] is very well done and useful for me when I have to speak on MTCR issues."

– Amb. Thomas Hajnoczi
Chair, MTCR
May 19, 2021
Focus Archive

In each month's issue of Arms Control Today, executive director Daryl Kimball provides an editorial perspective on a critical arms control issue.

  • Last month, the UN First Committee, responsible for international security, approved a compromise resolution that sets into motion a new open-ended working group to develop rules of the road for military activities in space.

  • Twenty-six years ago, at the 1995 review conference on the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the future of the treaty was not asssured. But the states-parties committed to the “complete elimination of nuclear weapons” and endorsed specific disarmament actions that led to the indefinite extension of this treaty. But since at least 2010, the nuclear disarmament process has stalled, and the NPT regime is once again at a crossroads.

  • Most successful U.S. presidents have actively led efforts to advance arms control agreements and reduce the risk of nuclear war. 

  • For the first five decades of the nuclear age, nuclear weapons test explosions were the most visible symbol of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the omnipresent threat of nuclear war.

  • After more than a decade of rising tensions and growing nuclear competition between the two largest nuclear-weapon states, U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed at their June 16 summit to engage in a robust “strategic stability” dialogue to “lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”

  • For more than six decades, the United States has been worried about China’s regional influence, military activities—and nuclear potential.

  • After more than a decade of rising tensions and growing nuclear competition between the two major nuclear-weapon states, U.S. President Joe Biden has signaled he will confront Russia when necessary.

  • In recent years, the United Kingdom has touted itself as one of the most transparent of the five nuclear-armed states recognized by the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and its leaders leaned heavily on the fact that it was reducing the size of its nuclear force.

  • President Joe Biden entered office with a deep knowledge of the dangers of nuclear weapons and the arms race. During the campaign, he said the United States “does not need new nuclear weapons” and “will work to maintain a strong, credible deterrent while reducing our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons.”

  • Until the Trump era, every U.S. president since John Kennedy has successfully concluded at least one agreement with the Soviet Union, or later Russia, to reduce the dangers posed by nuclear weapons to the United States and the world.

  • Within weeks of taking office, President Joe Biden and his team will be confronted with dozens of pivotal choices.

  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which will enter into force Jan. 22, marks a new, hopeful phase in the long-running struggle to prevent nuclear war and eliminate nuclear weapons.

  • For the first three and a half years of President Donald Trump’s term in office, he and his team have dithered and delayed on nuclear arms control matters.

  • Seventy-five years after the horrific atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we all still live under the existential threat of a catastrophic nuclear war.

  • Seventy-five years ago, on July 16, the United States detonated the world’s first nuclear weapons test explosion in the New Mexican desert. Just three weeks later, U.S. Air Force B-29 bombers executed surprise atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 214,000 people by the end of 1945, and injuring untold thousands more who died in the years afterward.

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