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Back from the Brink: Toward Restraint and Dialogue between Russia and the West


June 24, 2016
The Arms Control Association

Relations between Russia and the West have fallen to an historic low. Hopes for sustained and comprehensive cooperation have dimmed significantly. The prime objective for the next few years should be limiting the potential for dangerous military incidents that can escalate out of control. Russia and the West must come back from the brink. Restraint and dialogue are now needed more than ever.

http://www.armscontrol.org/reports/2016/Third-Report-of-the-Deep-Cuts-Commission

Back from the Brink:
Toward Restraint and Dialogue between Russia and the West

The Arms Control Association

WASHINGTON, DC (June 2016) -- Relations between Russia and the West have fallen to an historic low. Hopes for sustained and comprehensive cooperation have dimmed significantly. Competition and selective cooperation is the new normal.

The prime objective for the next few years should be limiting the potential for dangerous military incidents that can escalate out of control. Russia and the West must come back from the brink. They need to better manage their conflictual relationship. Restraint and dialogue are now needed more than ever.

The third report of the Deep Cuts Commission recommends the West and Russia to build on a number of existing arms control and confidence-building measures in order to avoid further exacerbation of the situation. It contains fifteen key recommendations and identifies a number of additional measures, which could help to address the most acute security concerns in Europe -- particularly in the Baltic area -- and increase US-Russian nuclear transparency and predictability.

Click here to download the Report



Recommendations of the Third Report of
the Deep Cuts Commission, June 2016


Security in the Baltic Area
1. In order to reduce current security concerns in the Baltic area, NATO and Russia should initiate a dialogue on possible mutual restraint measures. All states should adhere to the NATO-Russia Founding Act.

2. A NATO-Russia dialogue should aim at increasing the security of all states in the Baltic area by encompassing reciprocal and verifiable commitments. A sub-regional arms control regime could consist of interlocking elements such as restraint commitments, limitations, and adequate CSBMs.

3. In practical terms, such a regime could foresee higher inspection and evaluation quotas, lower notification and observation thresholds, and faster prior notification of snap exercises. It could be complemented with bilateral or multilateral arrangements, such as the establishment of a sub-regional Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism.

Dangerous Military Incidents
1. In light of the increasing dangers of military incidents between Russia, the United States and other NATO member states, the United States and Russia should revive dialogue on nuclear risk reduction measures, capable of addressing risks posed by different sorts of emergencies in near real-time.

2. The United States and Russia could consider creating a Joint Military Incident Prevention and Communications Cell with a direct telephone link to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Russian General Staff, and SHAPE. Such a joint cell could be established as part of or in connection with a new European Risk Reduction Center.

3. NATO and Russia should explore options for a multilateral dialogue on risk reduction. The bilateral INCSEA and DMA agreements could be revived and expanded to include all NATO member states. In addition, the establishment of mutual NATO-Russian military liaison missions in areas of mutual concern could help to improve communications.

The Role of the OSCE
1. OSCE participating States should pay more attention to the continued operation of the Treaty on Open Skies as the treaty contributes to the security of all 34 members. States Parties should strengthen its operation by upgrading their observation capabilities.

2. OSCE participating States should initiate a dialogue on different forms of impermissible intervention in internal affairs, beginning with a review of relevant definitions in the respective international instruments. For this purpose, the OSCE could set up a commission which would look into the issue from a legal point of view and explore possibilities for a possible new OSCE states-based mechanism to cooperatively address alleged cases of intervention into internal affairs of participating States.

3. OSCE participating States should prepare for a long-term endeavor leading to a Helsinki-like conference with the aim of reinvigorating and strengthening Europe’s guiding security principles. Germany could start exploring options for such a process, including complementing Track 2, Track 1.5, and diplomatic meetings and exchanges.

The INF Treaty and Cruise Missile Proliferation
1. The United States and Russia should make a political commitment to resolve each other’s concerns about compliance with the INF Treaty. After doing so, they should supplement ongoing diplomatic dialogue with technical expertise, either by convening the Special Verification Commission or a separate bilateral experts group mandated to appropriately address all relevant treaty-related compliance concerns.

2. Taking advantage of the panel of INF technical experts, the United States and Russia should address the issue of supplementing the treaty by taking account of technological and political developments that have occurred since the treaty’s entry into force.

3. The United States and Russia should address the destabilizing effects of nuclear-armed cruise missiles by agreeing on specific confidence-building measures. Together with other nations, they should address the challenges of horizontal cruise missile proliferation by reinforcing the relevant Missile Technology Control Regime’s restrictions and by endorsing the inclusion of land-attack cruise missiles and UAVs/UCAVs in the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

Strategic Nuclear Arms Control
1. With nuclear modernizations well underway, Russia and the United States should seek to exercise restraint in their nuclear force plans, remaining within the New START limits and acting consistent with the intent of the treaty to enhance stability. The United States should forego development of the redundant and potentially de-stabilizing LRSO and Russia should reciprocate with a phase-out of its new nuclear-armed ALCMs as well.

2. Russia and the United States should work towards early discussions on a possible follow-on strategic arms reduction treaty. Moscow and Washington should be able to envision reductions to a level of 500 deployed strategic delivery vehicles and 1,000 deployed strategic warheads each during the next decade.

3. Discussions should explore options for exchanging measures of reciprocal restraint and seek to include other issues of mutual concern under a combined umbrella of strategic stability. In addition, the United States and Russia and other nuclear- and non-nuclear weapons states should work together to enforce the global norm against nuclear testing and persuade those states, which must ratify the CTBT before it can enter into force, to take action.

The Arms Control Association depends on the generous contributions of individuals who share our goal of promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. ACA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization, and your financial support makes a difference.

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