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The Security Index came out with the article «The role of the US Congress in shaping and implementing nuclear arms control policies» by Elena Sinitsyna

02.04.2021

MOSCOW, APRIL 2, 2021. PIR PRESS. The Security Index came out with the article «The role of the US Congress in shaping and implementing nuclear arms control policies» by Elena Sinitsyna

The article is devoted to the role of Congress in the development and adoption of policy decisions on arms control. The author analyzes the difference in the positions of the two parties on the issues of the New Start and the INF Treaty, noting that despite the inter-party contradictions, the tug-of-war with the president, and the limited influence of the Congress on the development of the foreign policy course, the Congress is able to slowly, but direct this course in the right direction with the help of existing levers of pressure.

Key findings:

  • The Senate has a stronger position in the decision-making process in the field of arms control than the House of Representatives.

  • The question of who exactly in the United States has the legal authority to terminate an international treaty remains debatable since the US Constitution does not say anything about this procedure.
  • Although the US Congress has been advocating the full or partial suspension of US participation in the INF Treaty since 2017 until the "violations" by Russia are eliminated, it did not approve the US withdrawal from the Treaty in its legislative acts. But that didn't stop the Trump Republican administration from withdrawing from the INF.
  • In contrast to the position on the withdrawal from the INF Treaty, there were signs of bipartisan consensus in Congress on the issue of extending the START Treaty and engaging with Russia on strategic stability issues.
  • In the 115th and divided 116th Congress, Democrats favored maintaining the arms control architecture and reducing the cost of nuclear modernization, while Republicans, with the exception of some representatives, supported concluding new agreements that would benefit the United States at the expense of existing ones and conducting a full-scale modernization of nuclear forces.
  • Although the Congress has powerful tools of influence in its arsenal, it is not always easy to implement them in practice, both due to the inter-party contradictions within the Congress and due to the "tug of war" with the president. Therefore, the role of Congress in matters of nuclear arms control is still limited (while ignoring its capabilities and the processes taking place in it is very reckless).


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