“Post-Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Era” International Arms Control Faces Multiple Tests

Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine is about to enter the second phase. Regardless of the outcome of the war, the restart of the US-Russian negotiation on the international arms control treaty is bound to become the “post-Russian-Ukrainian conflict era” on the post-war security situation and the relaxation of relations between major powers. one of the important content. In fact, whether before the conflict, Russia raised its nuclear readiness to deter the military intervention of the United States and NATO, or the relevant strategic documents recently issued by the United States, or the resurgence of calls for “nuclear possession” in several nuclear fringe countries such as Japan and South Korea. All of these indicate that the global nuclear escalation and nuclear proliferation risks are increasing. In addition, due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China, the United States and Russia have successively interrupted the channel of strategic security dialogue. The current international arms control situation has fallen into a new round of historical trough. However, a major crisis is brewing a major turning point, just as people’s huge fear of the Cuban missile crisis in the early 1960s promoted the subsequent introduction of the “Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty”, “Non-Proliferation Treaty” and “Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty”. Is the “era of conflict between Russia and Ukraine” also brewing a new historical opportunity for international arms control to get out of the trough? This not only tests the national will of the United States, Russia and other relevant nuclear powers to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and suppress the role of nuclear weapons, test the consensus and confidence of the international community to regain the “global nuclear taboo”, and test China’s ability to provide China’s plan for international arms control affairs Diplomatic Wisdom.

First, in order to reduce the risk of a nuclear war, nuclear powers should earnestly fulfill their nuclear disarmament obligations and restrain the impulse to use nuclear weapons. Russia raised its nuclear weapons alert status before using force, aiming to de-escalate conflicts through deterrence escalation and effectively deter the direct involvement of US and NATO military forces. Heavy. The United States has abandoned the “no first use” option in the recently released “National Defense Strategy Report (Fact List)”, “Nuclear Posture Review (Fact List)” and “Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Budget”. “Reserved space.

Second, in order to prevent the risk of nuclear miscalculation, the United States and Russia should resume the strategic security dialogue mechanism as soon as possible after the conflict. At present, the only arms control treaty between the United States and Russia is the New START (New START). Although the United States and the Soviet Union repeatedly pushed up the upsurge of the nuclear arms race during the Cold War, causing the world to fall into the risk of nuclear war many times, the United States and the Soviet Union (Russia) also led major international arms control and disarmament initiatives for more than 70 years. He has accumulated rich gaming experience and negotiation skills. After the Russia-Ukraine crisis, how to rebuild strategic mutual trust and establish strategic stability between the United States and Russia should become one of the important issues in the “post-Russian-Ukrainian conflict era”.

Third, in order to curb the impulse of nuclear proliferation, nuclear-armed countries should strive to provide negative security assurances rather than nuclear umbrellas. Since the Biden administration took office, in order to repair the alliance rift caused by the Trump administration, it has repeatedly reiterated that it provides extended nuclear protection to Japan and South Korea, aiming to achieve the dual purpose of controlling allies and suppressing opponents by strengthening the nuclear tying of allies. Under the aegis of the “nuclear umbrella”, Japan has demanded the revision of the “three non-nuclear principles”, while the majority of South Koreans are in favor of independent research and development of nuclear weapons. In the name of “nuclear sharing”, the fact that the United States conducts “nuclear proliferation” cannot bring true peace to its allies and partners, but instead has become a potential source of regional conflicts. In a sense, the nuclear umbrella has evolved into a tool for the United States to seek hegemony. Among the world’s nuclear-weapon states, only China is committed to providing negative security assurances, that is, “unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones”. The policy basis of negative security assurance is the “no first use” principle, which should be the policy consensus of all nuclear-armed countries.

Fourth, in order to shape a stable nuclear order, the concept of nuclear taboo should be re-established as the general consensus of the international community. In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Ukraine said it would abandon the “Budapest Security Memorandum” and give up its status as a non-nuclear state; Belarus said it would “amend the constitution”, delete the “non-nuclear” clause and consider redeploying nuclear weapons. Russia and Ukraine have launched a fierce struggle and a game of public opinion over the Chernobyl and Zaporozhye nuclear power plants, which has aroused the international community’s high attention to the issue of nuclear facility safety. The author believes that both nuclear and non-nuclear countries should fully recognize the risks of nuclear escalation, nuclear proliferation and attacks on nuclear facilities in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. “Nuclear war cannot be fought nor won” should not only become a political consensus among nuclear countries, but also “prudent nuclear use, restraint in possessing nuclear weapons, and gradual elimination of nuclear weapons” should also become a general consensus in the international community.

It can be expected that deconstructing and reshaping the international nuclear order in the “post-Russian-Ukrainian conflict era” will face a series of challenges and opportunities. It is worth pondering what position China is in and what role it can play. The challenge is that the U.S. regards China as the “most threatening adversary country”, and is putting pressure on, besieging and smearing China in terms of nuclear force development, arms control cooperation, peripheral security, and public opinion building. The opportunity lies in the fact that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has repeatedly shown that the international nuclear order under the leadership of the United States has major drawbacks, such as emphasizing armaments over development, emphasizing self-interest over justice, and emphasizing hegemony over equality, all of which run counter to the theme of the era of “peace and development”. China’s proposal for a more just and reasonable international nuclear arms control initiative provides an opportunity.

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