Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell was interviewed for an article in CQ Researcher on the potential for a new U.S.-Russian arms race.
“If the U.S. and Russia are reinvesting in their strategic arsenals and re-emphasizing nuclear weapons in their national security strategies, they’re telegraphing to the rest of the world that this is where they think security lies,” says Alexandra Bell, a former senior State Department arms control adviser. “Then you have smaller powers saying they need nuclear weapons too.”
With the administration struggling to deal with North Korea and Iran, some arms control experts suggest it may not have the bandwidth to focus on Trump’s trilateral treaty proposal. The State Department’s Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs, responsible for negotiating arms control treaties, reportedly has gone from having 14 staffers when Trump took office three years ago to four. The State Department’s top two arms control officials were among those who left, says Bell, the former State Department arms control adviser, and neither has been replaced. The State Department has not commented on the report.
“We simply don’t have enough people doing this,” says Bell, now the senior policy director at the Council for a Livable World, a Washington-based organization that advocates for nuclear disarmament. “To create these kinds of agreements, you need patience and high-level, disciplined attention paid to those goals. It’s hard to see that forthcoming from this administration.”
Meanwhile, the Council for a Livable World’s Bell says U.S. investments in both new missiles and missile defenses and the Pentagon’s buildup of tactical nuclear weapons are foreboding signs. “This looks like a recommitment to the concept of nuclear war fighting,” she says.