Russia’s nuclear capabilities have caused serious concern for every American president dating back to Harry Truman. Over the past several decades, various treaties – some more effective than others – have sought to limit the size of our respective nuclear arsenals and the expansion of the arms race.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is the only surviving bilateral arms treaty with Russia, and is set to expire in a few days.

Last fall, the Trump administration advocated a one-year extension of the New START with the condition that the two countries allow nuclear war during this period. Unexpectedly, Russia preferred a clean five-year extension.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin delayed the final stage of negotiations in the hope that a possible Biden administration would strike a more favorable deal for Russia. Putin appears to have placed his bets correctly.

Following a call between President Biden and Putin, the White House announced that the US and Russia were ready to extend the new terms to five years. Simply put, the Biden administration is only rewarding Russia for hostile actions against the US and our allies.

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From the very beginning, the New START was heavily blamed. The treaty limits the number of bombers each nation can have, but does not place a limit on the number of bombs that can support each attacker.

Making matters worse, the limits apply only to strategic – not tactical – weapons. Russia has taken advantage of this drawback, collecting some 2,000 strategic nuclear weapons, compared to the United States’ 500.

Russia’s nuclear doctrine points to its growing desire to use tactical nuclear weapons in a confrontation, and Putin will undoubtedly use cement under the New START over the next five years, once Russia’s advantage over the US happens, Russia’s More than likely to deploy and ultimately use these weapons.

Of course, the challenges presented by Russia are beyond a number game. Experience has proved that Russia is not one to play by the rules.

As unreliable and unreliable as Russia, it minimizes risk compared to the biggest nuclear X factor – China.

Last fall, the Kremlin attempted to poison Putin rival Alexey Navalny. Russia has launched massive cyber attacks against private companies and government agencies – the latest SolarWind hack. And last year it attempted to steal coronovirus vaccine data from the US and some of our allied countries.

In short, Russia does not like to play by the rules, and New Start does little to prevent further fraud.

As unreliable and unreliable as Russia, it minimizes risk compared to the biggest nuclear X factor – China.

China argues that its nuclear force is small and poses no threat to the global system, but a thick line of secrecy around the Chinese Communist Party makes it nearly impossible to verify information about its nuclear capabilities.

China is estimated to have about 300 nuclear weapons, which is neither a dangerous threat, nor is China pursuing a “nuclear test”. In May 2019, the then Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley estimated that China would at least double the size of its nuclear reserves over the next decade.

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The five nuclear states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China. As part of New Start, the US regularly inspects Russian sites. And both France and the UK provide regular data on the size and makeup of their nuclear arsenals, about 290 and 215 nuclear warheads respectively.

If the estimate of China’s nuclear capabilities is correct, then China is the third most powerful nuclear state in the world, and there are virtually no measures to make it accountable. A clean expansion of New Start leaves a framework in which the Chinese are absent, the Russians cheat, and the United States is left to follow the rules of a pioneer era.

The US should pursue a more comprehensive approach to arms shortages that includes bringing China to the table. Instead of entering into a five-year extension of New Start, the administration should invite five nuclear states to the negotiating table and to get Beijing to multilateral negotiations aimed at limiting the development of nuclear arsenals globally Should use their advantage.

A multilateral treaty is the only viable solution to the modern nuclear threat scenario. Together, the global nuclear powers must take action to prevent China’s arsenal from growing even further, and ensure that each of these countries is following its commitment, which 189 states seek to achieve non-proliferation Is making a party.

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President Biden has an important decision, but certainly not difficult. Will he maintain a Cold War-era approach to nuclear disarmament? Or will he address new security challenges through a comprehensive approach to modern security challenges?

This is not the time to enter an expensive arms race, or take advantage of our conversation. American leadership has never been more important.