Bill Potter on Prospects for US-Russia Cooperation under Biden

January 4, 2021
William Potter

CNS Founding Director Dr. William Potter spoke with the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe about the future of Russian-US cooperation on nonproliferation under the new Joe Biden administration.

“It’s hard to imagine relations being any worse than they are currently,” he tells them. “They are characterized by a total lack of trust, respect, and empathy—a total recipe for disaster.”

During the Cold War and immediate post-Cold War eras, several nuclear incidents were narrowly averted, in large part due to the existence of trust between the two countries. “If a similar incident were to occur today in the absence of any trust,” Dr. Potter warned, “the outcome may be different.”

He is hopeful that a Biden administration will make it possible for the United States and the Russian Federation to be much more capable of cooperating on nuclear nonproliferation and important risk reduction measures. “At a minimum,” he said, “it is essential for both to reiterate support for the Reagan-Gorbachev principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

He is optimistic on several fronts, including joint cooperation on Iran, efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism, nuclear testing, and other urgent issues.

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