Almost a quarter century after the Soviet breakup Russia and the United States still possess nearly 2,000 nuclear bombs ready for launch any moment, Bryan Bender wrote in the latest issue of Politico magazine.
"And that so-called hair-trigger alert is now sparking new concerns that deepening distrust between the former foes significantly raises the risk of a miscalculation and nuclear disaster," the author noted.
James Cartwright, the retired four-star American general who oversaw the US nuclear arsenal before leaving the military in 2011, will join a group of ex-Russian officers and other national security leaders in an appeal for America and Russia to move quickly to “de-alert” their nuclear arsenals.
The group warns that the United States and Russia are facing a serious risk of an accidental nuclear exchange resulting from inadequate intelligence or a misreading of the other side’s intentions.
With all these risks in mind, Washington and Moscow need to develop better information before reacting, while still maintaining a strong deterrent force, General Cartwright told Politico.
Meanwhile, most cooperation between Washington and Moscow on nuclear weapons issues in now on hold due to the Ukrainian crisis, Bryan Bender warned, adding that, in addition to having halted cooperative efforts to check the global spread of nuclear weapons, the US and Russia were no longer working on new arms control treaties aimed at further downsizing their nuclear armories.