Seeking Mutually Assured Stability

The timing isn’t right yet for the United States and Russia to come to the table to hash out the next round of bilateral nuclear weapons cuts beyond the New START agreement, said Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, Thursday. “We would like to get back to talks on what we call deployed and non-deployed and strategic and non-strategic [assets]. But I think we are sanguine about that fact that they are not ready to do it,” she told reporters in Washington, D.C. The Russians are occupied with their presidential election in March. Plus, there is the US presidential election in November and the fact that NATO is still conducting its defense and deterrence posture review, she said. In the meantime, to lay the foundation for those future negotiations, when the opportunity does arise, the two nations are engaging in “strategic stability talks” over the next six to eight months to help foster “a much more mutually assured and stable relationship,” said Tauscher. The two nations have identified a “baker’s dozen” of topics to discuss, including conventional weapons in Europe, cyber issues, missile defense, and piracy, she said.