Strategic Arms Control in a Trilateral World

The website warontherocks.com looks at how the US might use strategic arms control negotiations, such as the new Start treaty wth Russia, to affect the overall relationship between the US, Russia and China.  It thinks the negotiations with Russia might tend to weaken Russia-China ties and give the US more leverage with both of the other parties.  It says:

The United States and the Soviet Union both used arms control to, among other objectives, drive a wedge in adversarial coalitions. The Limited Test Ban Treaty exploited Sino-Soviet differences in terms of the nuclear balance, and SALT I emphasized different Chinese and American policies toward the Soviet Union. In both cases, the wedge drivers achieved some limited success. Washington aggravated the Sino-Soviet split beyond repair. Moscow delayed and dampened encirclement by the United States and China for six years, from Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 to the normalization of Sino-American relations in 1978. The success of these wedge strategies turned upon different strategic circumstances. The test ban treaty capitalized on an already disintegrating alliance, while SALT I countervailed anti-Soviet convergence by conciliating the United States on key issues.

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