Congress has set limits on U.S. withdrawal from a major arms control treaty. But President Trump may not feel that he has to abide by them.
Pranay Vaddi is a fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, researching nuclear policy and Congress’s role in arms control. A lawyer by training, Vaddi brings years of practical experience from his time at the U.S. Department of State, implementing the New START and INF treaties in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs and as a congressional adviser and counsel in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs.
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The last treaty that limits the United States’s and Russia’s nuclear weapons, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), will expire in February 2021 unless both states agree to its extension. Opponents of extension, including some U.S. officials, have argued against extending the treaty by citing Russia’s new, developmental strategic weapons, which they claim will not be covered by the treaty. Yet the reality is more complex.