After the Helsinki Summit was over, the Russian government, the Russian and American media, and many Russian experts in the West have been calling for the United States and Russia to agree quickly to either an extension of the 2010 New Start Treaty, or a new follow-on arms control agreement; the New Start Treaty between the two countries is scheduled to expire in 2021.
Many of these calls for new negotiations and a new treaty are primarily driven by alarm at the bad state of East-West relations, the belief in the inherent benefits of arms control in general, and that arms control remains the area where it is easiest to secure Russo-American dialogue.
Additionally, arms control is historically the arena where Moscow most feels it is being treated as an equal by the United States. According to some American arms control enthusiasts, such deals also provide opportunities for Russia to achieve “parity” and supposedly thus stability between the two nations. Therefore, in the name of international security and East-West dialogue, it is argued, it is necessary to resume arms control talks with Moscow.
It is often assumed that “right wing” ideologues are opposed to arms control with the Russians, just as they purportedly were during the Cold War. This view is apparently based on another assumption: that “right-wingers” desire U.S. superiority over Russia and other armed adversaries, a superiority that bilateral arms control deals would preclude. However, it has always been the case that arms control, when done correctly, has been a policy designed to advance U.S. interests, not an effort to satisfy Soviet-Russian neuroses about being equal to the U.S. Therefore, the test of a credible arms control proposal and/or process is whether it advances U.S. interests.