In search of de-escalation and stability: Transparency, arms control and confidence-building in NATO-Russia relations

Nuclear tensions are on the rise again between the United States and Russia. US President Donald Trump recently announced the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after both the US and Russia accused each other of violating it. If the United States proceeds with this decision, and New START, the treaty limiting strategic nuclear weapons, is not extended beyond 2021, no limitation on the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the US will be in place for the first time since 1972. Indeed, both states are already modernising their nuclear arsenals. These nuclear tensions are accompanied by close military encounters between NATO and Russia and a renewed focus on strengthening military capabilities and readiness.

How could arms control talks be reinvigorated in this environment? To what extent might the international nonproliferation regime be damaged by these developments? Can the INF Treaty still be saved? What are “low-hanging fruit” on the arms control agenda that could serve as a new beginning for engagement? And what role can and should Europe play in this debate?


Nadia Arbatova is Head of Department on European Political Studies at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences. She is also Director of the Discussion Forum “European Dialogues”, Vice-President of the Russian Pugwash Committee, and a Member of Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

Oliver Meier is Deputy Head International Security Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. From 2005 to 2013, he was senior researcher with the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) and International Correspondent and Representative of the Arms Control Association.

Alexei K. Pushkov is Chairman of the Commission on Information and Media, Council of Federation, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. He is author & anchor of Postscriptum (TV Center, Russian TV Channel 3) and Professor of Diplomacy & International Relations at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University).


Greg Thielmann has served more than three decades in the executive and legislative branches of government, specialising in political-military and intelligence issues. He currently serves as a board member of the Arms Control Association. From 2005 to 2009, he worked as a senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He was previously a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. (Photo: Arms Control Association)

Chaired and moderated by Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Senior Professor for Security Policy and Diplomatic Practice at the Hertie School and Director of the school’s Centre for International Security Policy (CISP). He has been Chairman of the Munich Security Conference since 2008.

This event is hosted by the Centre for International Security Policy at the Hertie School.