The United States is cautiously optimistic about the progress of the strategic stability dialogue with Russia and at the same time looking for initiating similar strategic stability dialogues with China. These thoughts were shared by the Biden’s nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, Ms. Mallory Stewart during her confirmation hearing at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Senate. Mallory Stewart was of the view that strategic stability is the collective benefit for the United States and Russia, as well as the world community. She said that strategic stability dialogue is a very good first step for building understanding in the areas where both Russia and the United States have matching concerns and where both can work towards stabilizing their relations. While speaking to the lawmakers Mallory said that the United States should conduct a dialogue on strategic stability with Russia and China, its main competitors on the world stage. Mallory was of the view that It is important to have the ability to interact on the security sphere even in times of tension and contradiction in bilateral relations. Therefore, the Biden administration is engaged in a dialogue with Russia on strategic stability and seeks similar engagement with China. While advocating for the reconciliation efforts Mallory further said that both Moscow and Beijing are demonstrating “increasingly aggressive behavior” in the international arena.
The United States and Russia have the biggest stocks of Nuclear arsenal in the world and both nations collectively own about 90 percent of world nuclear warheads. The two nations had been engaged with each other in this realm and undertook confidence building and arms reduction measures during the past decades. The first ever treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms commonly known as (START) was signed by the two countries in June 1982. The two countries had extended the provision of the START treaty in February 2021 for next five years. The New START Treaty stipulates a reduction in the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by one-half and limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 by the two rivals. Biden’s nominee for arms reduction wants to engage China in arms reduction negotiations to ensure maintenance of strategic stability with its emerging major competitor. In fact, continuous growth, and deployment of static and mobile strategic nuclear warheads on the ground and in the sea through Nuclear Submarines had caused serious threats of accidental use of these destructive weapons due to misunderstanding or human error can produce grave consequences for the whole world.
The United States and China already have working cooperation in the non-proliferation domain particularly due to coordinated work on North Korea issues during the past. The intelligentsia, Academia, and nuclear experts of the two countries remained engaged in discussions on the scope of creation of strategic stability between the countries and identified diverging areas of their bilateral cooperation in nonproliferation.
In fact, strategic stability and confidence building is an essential need of all rivals across the world, who are in possession of weapons of mass destruction, because confusion and distrust become the biggest driver of miscalculated moves by the warring states. Therefore, the three big rivals must have a comprehensive mechanism to reduce the risks and build mutual confidence while maintaining necessary deterrence against each other.