Op-Ed: Rivalry or Comradery?

Russian-American Relations and the New Nuclear Arms Race.

By Probir Kumar Sarkar.

The beginning of a new nuclear arms race amid increasing tensions in an already tense world is not a welcome move. For decades, Moscow and Washington worked together, even at the height of the Cold War, to reduce the number of strategic nuclear weapons to save the world from the looming threat of nuclear catastrophe, but that may be no longer. Donald J. Trump has proposed renewed relations between Washington and Moscow during his election campaign, but more recent statements by both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have suggested instead a renewed nuclear rivalry between the two nations.

Increased armament increases the risks of miscalculation or accident by either party, especially since the United States and Russia have terminated their regular communication channel that was set up after the Cuban missile crisis. From the Cold War until the 2014 Ukraine crisis and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Moscow and Washington maintained a bilateral hotline to enable direct communication between the leaders of each nation, but the Obama administration discontinued this channel during the imposition of Western sanctions in punishment for Moscow’s actions in Crimea.

There are over 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today—enough to destroy the life-sustaining ecosystems of the earth many times over. The rivalry between the United States and Russia is just one concern. Nuclear arms in the hands of rogue states, terrorists, and irresponsible leaders could push the world into a catastrophic sequence of events that would to bring about the end of civilization.

Even a localized regional war of 100 nuclear detonations—between India and Pakistan, for example—would produce 5 million tons of black soot that would rise up to Earth’s stratosphere and block a disastrous amount of sunlight the world over, according to a report in Earth Journal. This would produce enough particulate smog to significantly and immediately drop global temperatures for over 25 years. It would temporarily destroy much of the Earth’s protective ozone layer, which would cause as much as an 80 percent increase in U.V. radiation on Earth’s surface. Combined, this would destroy most of both land- and sea-based ecosystems. What can be expected from a new nuclear arms other than self-destruction?

The peace and property of the human race cannot take a backseat to geopolitical maneuvers. The world is more turbulent, volatile, and unstable now than it has been in many decades. Open talks and meaningful negotiations are needed between leaders given the many troubled spots around the globe. The unprecedented, protracted, and complex …

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