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Not one without the other

06 Dec 2022 - 13:17
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Not one without the other
Realigning deterrence and arms control in a European quest for strategic stability

With strategic competition between the great powers accelerating, prospects for missile arms control are bleak. The architecture once designed to limit the risks associated with the production, proliferation, deployment and employment of missiles and their technologies has crumbled as existing agreements were abandoned and as strategic and technological shifts rendered remaining ones increasingly inapt. Even though arms control and its demise are often framed as an issue pertaining predominantly to the United States, Russia, and increasingly also China, their security implications stretch well beyond today’s major military powers. Indeed, despite a persistent lack of interest among Europeans over the past decades regarding developments in missile technology and the strategic calculus, their continent’s security is severely affected by these developments. Therefore, and despite limited manoeuvre space for small and middle powers in this field, options must be explored for Europe to actively shape or at least participate in efforts to reinvigorate arms control and more generally stability. Indeed, even if Thucydides’ notion that “the strong do what they can; the weak suffer what they must” applies rather aptly to this field, medium-size missile powers are not left entirely empty-handed.


Lotje Boswinkel and Paul van Hooft - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS)

With contributions from Michal Gorecki