U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 2017. 
Carlos Barria / REUTERS

U.S.-Russian relations are at their lowest point in decades, with huge implications for the future of arms control and nonproliferation. Should the situation deteriorate even further, Washington and Moscow could soon be on the brink of a direct confrontation or even a nuclear escalation. The Soviet Union and the United States were long able to avoid a nuclear war by negotiating a set of political agreements and treaties that kept military escalation under control. Unfortunately, the arms control regime that those agreements helped build is on the verge of complete collapse.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which placed limits on missile defense, and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, which limited the number of tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery guns, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters used on the continent, are dead. Meanwhile, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which bans ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with a

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  • SERGEY ROGOV is Academic Director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
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