The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the only agreement limiting the number of nuclear weapons in Russia and the US to remain in effect, is set to expire in 2021, as the Trump administration keeps avoiding the extension, insisting instead that China must also take part.
The White House is planning to prolong the New START treaty by several months, pursuing the combined goals of keeping the agreement in force, limiting the nuclear arms extension for both countries and encouraging China to join the agreement, Politico reported, citing unnamed administration officials.
Under US President Donald Trump’s alleged plan, the decision will postpone the expiration of the New START treaty and add time to negotiate new limits on nuclear weapons with both Moscow and Beijing. Some have expressed concern, however, that the goal appears unrealistic and could lead to a nuclear arms race if treaty negotiations fail.
An unnamed official described by Politico as one who “closely tracks nuclear policy” said that while the official deal is unlikely to happen, “they wanted at least a gentleman’s agreement”, that would not be “a binding legal document”.
Some remain optimistic about the idea of “buying time” to negotiate amendments to the agreement, as does Jon Wolfsthal, a former National Security Council member and currently a senior adviser to the disarmament group Global Zero.
“Time buying” can only last to February 2021, when the only remaining