Sample Criminal Justice Critical Thinking Paper on Treaty Analysis

Treaty Analysis


Arms control is broadly defined to consider all types of coordination between potential adversaries working toward minimizing the possibility of war, the cost of planning for war and limiting the extent of violence should war emerge. Arms control refers to arrangements aimed at controlling the increasing arms competition between two or more parties. Currently, nuclear weapons propagation creates a terrible international security threats. After the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union initiated arm control efforts as a means to alleviate the nuclear arms race. The result was the creation of an agreement, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that would help to reduce the tension between the superpower nations, preparing a platform for greater cooperation.

History of the Treaty

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the START on July 31, 1991. This agreement was made to reduce the harm posed by the use of destructive weaponry against the human race. After the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the parties endorsed a Convention that included the four former Soviet Republics with nuclear weapons on their borders (Crane, 2004). These are Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. START came into power on November 4, 1994. Nevertheless, the Russian Federation denounced each successive U.S. nuclear weapons program, citing that they were destabilizing. The disruption represented an assault on the existing strategic quo by adding numerically to the U.S. nuclear arsenal, or a qualitative improvement in weapons technology unmatched by Soviet capabilities. In the Soviet view, destabilizing weapons were characterized by:

  • Undetectable approach by adequate warning time
  • Hitting target with high precision, therefore, very efficient against hardened targets
  • Fewer countermeasures against them i.e. difficult to defend against
  • High inherent pre-launch survivability
  • High vulnerability to accidents
  • High technological developments in the United States

Nevertheless, the START Protocol was to remain in force for 15 years, unless replaced by a subsequent agreement. According to Article XVII of the Treaty, the parties must meet one year before this date to decide whether to extend the agreement or not. After a period of intensive negotiations, the United States and Russian Federation signed New START on 8th April 2010 in Prague. This agreement came into force on 5th February 2011 and is expected to remain effective at least up to 2021. The treaty provides that, within seven years of operation, each side may position no more than 1,550 strategic warheads and no more than 700 strategic delivery systems (ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments) (Woolf, 2009). Moreover, the warheads on each side are narrowed to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed strategic delivery systems.

The New START is an improvisation of the initial START in that it counts actual warheads on each delivery vehicle as opposed to the original START, which assumed that the number of warheads would be adequate and manageable. However, “New START maintains START attribution rule of one warhead for each heavy bomber irrespective of the number of warheads that aircraft can carry’ (Woolf, 2009, p. 122). This indicates that there are no sub-limits in the treaty, hence providing each side with the maximum flexibility to decide its preferred mix of forces under the overall treaty limits. Subsequently, the condition opens the likelihood that the United States and Russia may locate their future arsenals in varying directions. Should either party develop conventional-tipped ICBMS or SLBMS, those will be counted in the treaty limits. Verification approaches include intrusive on-site inspections, data transfer, telemetry sharing and notifications (Den Dekker, 2010).

Insecurity and Arms Control Agenda for the 21st Century

The agenda of existing, active efforts in the arena of security and arms control remains extensive. The ability to eliminate proliferation, whether materials, components, systems, weapons, or expertise, keeps security as New START’s primary agenda. Other weapons with catastrophic potential, especially biological and chemical agents, remains a threat due to further development and possible proliferation (Williams & Viotti, 2012). While technological developments have expanded new arenas of potential and military developments in information technology and outer space, the unilateral arms control measures address suitable approaches to prevent terrorists’ activities in United States and Russia (Woolf, 2009).

The U.S.-Russian strategic arms control implementation process will be compounded with the new increment of cuts to ensure that criminals have little access to deadly weaponry. One can expect a continuation of multilateral arms control and disarmament efforts, especially those geared toward stopping and reversing the proliferation and development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  

Regional arms control and disarmament efforts are just emerging. For instance, the U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Iran government to reduce the security threats posed by launching nuclear missiles (Williams & Viotti, 2012). Such as approach is necessary to sustain security cooperation, confidence building, and conventional arms control issues. Moreover, U.S. has adopted nuclear-weapons-free zones on a range of economic, political, and security issues.

Man has a long history of attempts to regulate the potential and destructive implications of warfare. Currently, as modern technologies threat massive destruction and suffering, United States will continue to struggle for humane and consistent applications of force. However, Americans must be involved in the arms control as long as weapons tools of international relationship. For almost three generations, policy development and intellectual advancement in the field of international relations have concentrated on the role of arms control with the help of specialized language.

Current Condition

The United States and the Soviet Union have been discussing nuclear control agreement for over twenty years. During most of that time, the United States has used these discussions as a corrective exercise in “raising the Russian learning curve in creating a dialogue that will encourage, however, gradually, a convergence of American and Russian thinking about stable deterrence.” For many, the consummation of a strategic arms reduction treaty will no doubt, reinforce the perception that a consensus on “stable deterrence,” and how it is to be maintained,  has been forged between United States and the Soviet Union (Crane, 2004). After all, the Soviets appear to have conceded to nearly the entire U.S. negotiating agenda in START:

  • the principle of deep reductions in offensive nuclear arms
  • the notion that bombers and cruise missiles are somehow less destabilizing than ballistic missiles, which should be subject to less destructive limitations
  • the purpose of highly intrusive verification regimes.

However, there are variations in the two sides’ concepts of, and approaches to, strategic stability and arms control. The superficial acuity of U.S and Soviet convergence in thinking on strategic stability is belied not only by ongoing asymmetries in the development and deployment of their strategic nuclear arsenals but by respective U.S. and Soviet negotiating positions in START.

Negotiating START

Differences in the United States and Soviet approaches to strategic stability partly account for variations between U.S. and Soviet views of the roles and values of arms control agreements. For the United States, arms control is a technical exercise in managing the emergence and deployment of destabilizing weapons technology and often substitute for unilateral defense measures to minimize the risks posed by aggressive or destabilizing capabilities. For the Russian Federation, arms control is an activity in managing political threats, based on seeking agreements in principle that will minimize aggressive or destabilizing intentions and obtaining a strategic advantage (Den Dekker, 2010).

The Russian Federation view problems of war and peace based on two dimensions, the political and the military. The political leadership is committed to ensuring that the country’s diplomatic and propaganda program contributes effectively to national security priorities such as deterring an attack on the USSR. Military leadership is responsible for ensuring that Soviet weapons, technology, and military personnel are prepared to wage war in defense of the nation, should deterrence fail. In executing military-technical aspects of Soviet deterrence policy, the Russian military has shown a predisposition to rely on unilateral measures to guarantee the country’s security, supplemented by modest bilateral and multilateral arms control arrangements (Williams & Viotti, 2012). This prediction is manifested in the large scale of Soviet weapons development and acquisition, in the deployment of reloadable silos, mobile ICBMs, and an extensive air-defense network. The tendency to emphasize unilateral solutions to challenges, such as mitigating the vulnerability of ICBMs to preemption by making them mobile, promotes incentives for treading the margins of arms control agreements such as Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) II. Moreover, the pace of Soviet strategic nuclear force modernization has its momentum, left undaunted by either SALT I or SALT II. The scale of these modernizations efforts has created a diverse range of capable nuclear weapons systems. This has placed Russia in a favorable position than the United States to successfully minimize forces under a START convention without jeopardizing their survivability, target coverage, or operational flexibility.

The Soviet Union has significant experience in deployed strategic defenses unparalleled by the United States. Moreover, USSR is ahead of the United States in the deployment of mobile ICBM systems, both of which will be vital in a post-START strategic environment. Cirincione (2007) notes that the Soviet Union may have several ballistic missile follow-on programs under development. In additional, strategic force procurement patterns have given the Soviets a wide range of cost-efficient strategic weapons systems with diverse characteristics, therefore, flexible to tackle enemies of the state. 

U.S. Concepts of Strategic Stability

The quest for strategic stability has been the central organizing principle of U.S. nuclear strategy and arms control policy since the United States began losing its nuclear monopoly in the 1950s. Traditionally, the U.S. analysts have viewed overall stability as an integration of crisis stability and arms race stability. Crisis stability refers to the lack of incentives for starting a nuclear strike. It is a condition where no advantages from striking first can occur from the existing postures of the opposing forces. It is also a condition where a threatened nation does not feel required to “use or lose” its strategic weapons under threat of attack, or where neither side feels pressured to start a nuclear exchange in a crisis (Crane, 2004).

Laying Foundation for the Future

The U.S and Russia began to negotiate their selection for arms control after START in 2006.  In the era of Bush Administration, solid agreements were never met. Neither U.S. nor Russia wanted to expand START in its original form, as some of the Protocol’s guidelines have started to disrupt some military project on both sides. Russia expressed its desire to replace START with new counting rules in START. The U.S., at first, was unwilling to discuss a new agreement, but, under the Bush presidency, would have wanted to extend, informally, part of START’s monitoring rules (Den Dekker, 2010). The Bush Administration agreed to finalize a new Treaty in 2008, with regulatory rules intact, but this Convention would have resembled the far less formal Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty.  In 2008, however, the two sides settled to replace START before it elapsed but acknowledged that this role would be negotiated by the administrations of the two nations.

Pursuing an Agreement

 The U.S. and Russian Federal talks commenced shortly after the election of President Obama. In the early March 2009, Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State) and Sergey Lavrov (Russia’s Foreign Minister) had met to seek a convention that would replace START before its expiry. In April, before the G-20 summit in London, President Obama and Medvedev supported these discussions including their goals. A Joint Understanding was signed in July 2009 when the two leaders met in Moscow (Crane, 2004). This Treaty contained a wide range of numerical restrictions that would be in the Convention, from 500-1100 of strategic delivery vehicles and 1500-1675 for the allied warheads. Still, it included other issues such as regulations for evaluating the limits, laws on definitions, and regulations on the link between strategic offensive and strategic defensive weapons.

Elements of the New START

The New START Treaty is made of three primary elements of Russian and U.S. strategic offensive nuclear forces. The first element restricts each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and heavy bombers set to hold nuclear armaments. Second element limits restrict each side to deploy no more than 700 ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and heavy bombers prepared to hold nuclear armaments. Third, the treaty limits either side to possess at least 1550 deployed warheads. Deployed warheads consist the actual number of warheads held by deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, and none an independent warhead for every deployed heavy bomber prepared with nuclear armaments (Den Dekker, 2010).

The New START’ Agreement states that a deployed ICBM launcher is an ICBM launcher that is situated at a space launch component. These set launchers can be located only at ICBM stations. A deployed ICBM is the one held in a deployed launcher. A deployed heavy bomber refers to weaponry prepared for nuclear armaments if it is set outside the production facility.

The warhead restrictions in New START Treaty are slightly different from the original START treaty. First, the sub-limits exercised by START were attributed to various forms of strategic weapons since the United States focused on imposing certain limits on the elements of the Russian Federation. Conversely, the New START has one limit on the total number of the deployed warheads. As a result, the bidding nations attain the freedom to combine their forces as interested. The push for abiding by this law also emerges from the U.S. urge to maintain security across its territories (Crane, 2004). 

Second, START calculated the number of warheads by assuming that each operational missile contained an equal number of warheads. To get the number of warheads that counted under the treaty limits, each side multiplied the warhead number by the number of deployed ballistic missiles as well as the heavy bombers. By contrast, the New START engage each side in determining the number of the launchers only by declaring the number of warheads employed across their force. This approach will enable the United States to reduce its troops without interfering with the launchers, hence meeting the operation requirements. 

Monitoring and Verification

The New START Agreement has monitoring and verification clause that resembles the command in START, in that it contains a compound statement describing items that are restricted by the treaty, database that indicates the numbers, types, and position of the items. Additionally, the verification command has been streamlined to appear less expensive and intricate than the regime in START. Den Dekker (2010) show that adjustments have also been made to indicate the limits in the New START and the existing relationship that links the United States to Russia. Precisely, it focuses on developing lucidity, cooperation and openness as well as revealing potential violations.

Under New START, both Russia and U.S. continue to depend on their NTM to gather information about the size and location of the strategic forces. They may be broadcast the information collected during missile flight tests with high flexibility than it was a decade ago (Williams & Viotti, 2012). This data is not necessarily needed to control compliance with certain limits, but the mutual exchange creates transparency in the competence of their systems. The parties will link their databases to produce information about the real location of the warheads as well as the number of the deployed task force vehicles. The agreement also allows each side to reveal their forces, and enables parties to engage in exhibitions, to clarify the credibility of the information listed in the database.

Under New START, each side can carry out short notices not above 18, on board inspections, an approach that has been utilized in the last quarter of the decade.  These inspections are Type One and Type Two inspections. The two reviews should be conducted nearly equal times, but the total should not exceed 18. Furthermore, parties involved can conduct two distinguished types of inspections, which is equivalent to inspections of the data updates. It is an indication that 18 short-notice inspections under New START are equivalent to 28 short-notice inspections performed under START.


U.S.-Russian arms regulation continues to be a vital tool for improving the national security of United States as well as that of its partners. In fact, promoting strategic stability by eliminating the nuclear use remains a crucial U.S. goal given that Russian forces look to be one of the few existential threats to the U.S. security soon. However, the United States and Russia Federation enters the next round of arm control discussions with varied capabilities, goals and objectives. Principally, Washington is interested in reducing Moscow’s nuclear forces, especially its tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs). Conversely, Moscow is interested in reducing the U.S. nonnuclear powers, particularly the ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems. In spite of continued U.S. assurances that these systems are not directed against Russia, Moscow is worried that these approaches could eventually undermine its strategic deterrent. This means that next generation should seek strong arm control measures to establish strong U.S. ties with its allies.

There is a strong belief that limits of launchers and delivery vehicles should remain an essential element of START. This is because such limits provide predictability in the evolutions of each party’s nuclear forces, thus promoting strategic stability. New START articulates that at no time should more than 700 ICBM,s and heavy bombers be deployed in each side’s force. The New Generation Working Group (NGWG) adopts different opinions about whether the United States should implement reduction on strategic launchers and delivery vehicles to standards below the New START Protocol. It means that if U.S. and Russia decide on further reductions, any cuts will be significant (Den Dekker, 2010).

Indeed, New START verification regime could be effective if the parties remain vigilant of some areas. For instance, repeated inspections and improved access during inspections to confirm the abolition of the delivery systems would serve U.S. homeland security interests. As the nuclear stations of U.S. and Russia shrink, the NGWG thinks that neither deterrence nor strategic stability will be best served to employ arms control to incline the parties to assume similar structures. This means that it is prudent to enhance flexibility in each side’s endeavor to assume whatever force structure it perceives optimal within the entire limits for delivery vehicles and launchers.

Moreover, the United States and Russia should improve the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) budget to ensure that countries with nuclear sites focus on peaceful nuclear programs instead of turning them into military programs. This aspect will safeguard the increased use of the nuclear power as well as the foreseen explorations in this field.

IAEA creates a service-oriented system to ensure that active nuclear materials do not land in the hands of the terrorist groups. The previous failure to concentrate in this sector has seen some of the world dangerous terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda posing a great threat to the world forces. This mistake comes as a lesson that members of New START Treaty should strive to cover all the financial loopholes that could be provoking the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Still, New START should emphasize on creating a global alliance against nuclear terrorism. For instance, after September 11, 2001, terror attacks in U.S., the federal government called upon partner countries to launch a global partnership for the use of deadly weapons and mass destructions. In this program, U.S. pledged to commit over $10billion while its allies pledged to match that amount. Similarly, strengthening the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism could be vital in the much-needed support to the New START Treaty (Williams & Viotti, 2012). These programs stand a chance to make a difference if world countries converge the global efforts required.

Finally, NGWG believes that New START should impose bans on the deployment of silo-based ICBMs and MIRVs arms. Such ban should bring the involved countries to experience their security freedom under less destructive weaponry. This means that it is in the interest of U.S. and Russia to have a sharp reduction of deadly nuclear weapons, thus eliminating the inherently artificial differences between strategic and tactical warheads.


Cirincione, J. (2007). Bomb scare: The history and future of nuclear weapons. New York, N.Y: Columbia University Press.

Crane, M. (2004). The political junkie handbook: [the definitive reference book on politics]. New York, NY: S.P.I. Books.

Den Dekker, G. (2010). A new START to begin with: recent developments in US-Russian strategic nuclear arms reductions. Security And Human Rights, 21(2), 81-92.

Williams, R. E., & Viotti, P. R. (2012). Arms control: History, theory, and policy. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

Woolf, A. (2009). Strategic Arms Control After START: Issues and Options. Connections: The Quarterly Journal, 08(2), 45-74.