The U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the expiration of the New START treaty in 2021 threaten to derail decades-long efforts to maintain an effective global arms control regime. In this episode, Tong Zhao spoke with Richard Weitz, senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, about the deterioration of global arms control institutions and its effects on U.S.-China relations and regional nonproliferation efforts to contain North Korea and Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Weitz argued that the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty stemmed from Russia’s repeated violations of the agreement and had little to do with China. He said, however, that Beijing must be included in any new negotiations despite the difficulties of implementing trilateral arms control agreements. Furthermore, Weitz highlighted Beijing’s crucial role in either resuscitating the crumbling Iran nuclear agreement or negotiating a new one. On North Korea, Weitz said a lack of forward momentum in diplomacy could lead to increased tensions with Pyongyang. Though measured sanctions relief might be necessary to prevent a return to the brinksmanship of 2017, Weitz cautioned against any actions that do not include safeguards that prevent Pyongyang from reneging on its commitments.
Tong Zhao is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. His research focuses on strategic security issues, including nuclear weapons strategy, arms control, nonproliferation, missile defense, hypersonic weapons, space security, and other international security issues.
Richard Weitz is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute. His current research includes regional security developments relating to Europe, Eurasia, and East Asia as well as U.S. foreign and defense policies.