Arms Control Is Not an End unto Itself

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Tennessee returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., in 2013. (Mass Communication Specialist First Class James Kimber/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters ) Instead, the Biden administration must pursue it as a component of a comprehensive national-security strategy to advance American interests.

The Biden administration has ambitions to re-establish America’s “credibility as a leader in arms control,” according to its Interim National Security Strategy released this past March. While we reject the suggestion that U.S. credibility has been lost, as national-security professionals, we both understand the importance of effective arms control. But we also know that all too often, arms control has been seen as an end unto itself, instead of what it should be: a component of a comprehensive national-security strategy to advance American interests.

Recently, the administration met in Geneva for the second round of “Strategic Stability Dialogues” with the Russian Federation. One outcome was an agreement to create a bilateral arms-control working group. This working group is not itself a problem.

The question for the Biden administration is whether it will want a deal with Russia so badly that it agrees to a bad deal. Judging by

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