The crisis of global arms control – Interview with Time Magazine

Russia's withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) took legal effect on 7 November. IFSH-Researcher Dr Tobias Fella discusses the background with international experts for Time Magazine.

For Fella, the move symbolizes a process that will lead to an era of conventional and nuclear instability. In his view, the main issue is in this era will not so much be disarmament or conflict resolution, but the management of antagonisms. The aim against under these circumstances, he argues, must be to prevent military escalation between the major powers, especially the US, Russia and China, and to produce key public goods, such as combating climate change.

In this context, he considers the scenario of Donald Trump's re-election as US president in 2024. For the political scientist, the Republican Party is characterized by a broad rejection of arms control, which it sees as an unnecessary brake on the development of US power. According to Fella, this is not a new tendency, and in the 1990s it was embodied above all by neoconservative pundits, for whom the United States needs maximum freedom of action for its role as guardian and liberal leviathan of the global order. The difference today would be that for Republicans in the Trump tradition, the US must define narrower national interests, and US primacy has become a kind of end in itself.  This shift in the center of gravity of the US- debate, he concludes, has consequences for Europe, which will increasingly have to deal with questions of transatlantic burden-sharing and burden-shifting, not least with regard to a possible second Trump administration.
You can read the interview on the Time Magazine website.