Sputnik: CNN has reported on President Trump allegedly mulling a nuclear deal with Russia and China. In your view, why are we seeing this report now?
Alexander Gillespie: The idea of a grand deal is very enticing — especially at a time when so many other things in the international sphere are unsettled. In terms of timing — as Russia and China are about to have high level meetings, and North Korea and Russia are talking, such a proposition of a 'grand deal' helps regain the headlines.
Sputnik: Who may benefit from such a speculation now, in the midst of Mueller report turmoil?
Sputnik: How likely is it that the president is actually considering such a deal?
Alexander Gillespie: I think he is considering it carefully. It would be magical if he could pull it off. Reagan was the last one to make such a breakthrough, and end the Сold War. I imagine Trump would like a similar legacy.
Sputnik: What can be offered to attract China and Russia?
Alexander Gillespie: With Russia — redoing the start, maybe reducing the numbers a bit more. With Russia and China, trying to remove the platform that caused the INF to collapse — short range nuclear missiles. I doubt China would like such a proposal as they are already at a large numerical disadvantage, but the need to get them within the nuclear arms limitation treaties is crucial. Too much of what we have governing this space is the product of the cold war, but the 21st century and the balance of power is different.
Alexander Gillespie: Redoing the START [Treaty] should be the largest priority between Russia and America. Between the two of them they hold about 90% of the world’s nukes — in a controlled way. If the START falls over, the limits and the inspections which promote cooperation and compliance will disappear. It would be an absolute disaster.
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