The risk of a nuclear war is rising because of growing non-nuclear threats to nuclear weapons and their command-and-control systems. In a conventional war, such “entanglement” could lead to non-nuclear operations inadvertently threatening the opponent’s nuclear deterrent or being misinterpreted as preparations for nuclear use, potentially sparking catastrophic escalation. Alexey Arbatov, who co-authored a new Carnegie volume, Entanglement: Chinese and Russian Perspectives on Non-nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Risks, gave a Russian view of this problem and presented potential policy options in a conversation with James Acton.
Alexey Arbatov is the head of the Center for International Security at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations.
James Acton is is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.