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The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)
The last treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals is due to expire in 2021. If the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) lapses with nothing to replace it, there would be no legally-binding limits on the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.|
The treaty permits an extension “for a period of no more than five years” so long as both the U.S. and Russian presidents agree to it. Russia has offered to extend New START by five years without any preconditions. The Trump administration has conditioned extension on Russian support for changes to the New START verification system and acceptance of a new framework that limits all types of nuclear warheads and that can involve China in the future. Russia has rejected the U.S. offer, which it calls “absolutely unrealistic.” In response, Trump officials say they will “raise the price” for New START extension. Unless Joe Biden is elected in November, there is a high risk that New START will disappear.
The OuterSpace Treaty of 1967, initiated by the United States, the Soviet Union and the UK, has since been signed by most other nations. It proclaimed space as a "global commons" to be used only for peaceful purposes. It prohibited the siting of weapons of mass destruction in space.|
Russia, China and Canada have pressed the UN to adopt a Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) Treaty banning all weapons in space. The US has vetoed this proposal.
Despite the Outer Space Treaty, President Trump signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act creating a Space Force as the sixth branch of the US Armed services.
Russia and China will be reluctant to accept "American dominance". This would precipitate an arms race in space. War in space would shut down satellite communication, stopping cell phones, electronic navigation, ATM machines, weather forecasts and many other civilian facilities worldwide.