Strategic Thinking of Arms Control

  One definition of arms control is: cooperation between potential opponents to reduce the risk of war, war losses, and the cost of preparing for war. This definition was proposed by Thomas Schelling, an arms control scholar and Nobel laureate in economics, and was accepted by most international security experts. Although this definition is not suitable for generalizing the characteristics of unilateral arms control, it does describe the results of bilateral and multilateral arms control. The development of each arms control is a long chain. The beginning end is the strategic thinking of arms control, and the follow-up end is its policy practice. If bilateral and multilateral arms control policy practices are successful, arms control will be embodied in cooperation between countries. This kind of cooperation can be a written arms control treaty, or it can be an unwritten tacit agreement between countries.
  For example, the United States and the Soviet Union (Russia) realized that ground-based missiles with multiple guided warheads are often not conducive to strategic stability. This is a strategic thinking; the two sides have restricted the multiple guided warheads in their series of disarmament treaties to reduce strategic weapons. , This is an international cooperation. In fact, improving the accuracy of nuclear missiles is the same as deploying land-based split-guide multiple warheads, and it is also not conducive to strategic stability. This is also a kind of strategic thinking. However, this strategic thinking has never evolved into international cooperation, and there is even no public evidence that there has been any discussion between the United States and the Soviet Union (Russia) on limiting the accuracy of nuclear missiles.
  The above-mentioned comparative analysis of multiple warheads and precision shows that there is a certain distance between strategic thinking and policy practice in arms control. Some strategic thinking applied to practice can be transformed into policies and promote international cooperation in the field of arms control; some cannot.
  At present, we are losing more and more international arms control cooperation. One of the main reasons for this situation is the bipartisan politics in the United States. After the end of the Cold War, the differences between the U.S. Democrats and Republicans regarding arms control gradually widened. This kind of partisan struggle directly led to a huge swing in US arms control policy. In the United States, it is much simpler to suspend an arms control international cooperation than to develop an arms control. Therefore, every time the U.S. arms control policy swings, the swing toward the negative is far greater than the swing toward the positive. As a result, the U.S. arms control policy becomes more and more conservative. Due to the strong strength of the United States, when the United States resists international arms control cooperation, it is difficult for the international community to save these cooperation. Therefore, the current overall situation is: international arms control cooperation led by small countries is still developing, while the international arms control cooperation spoiled by the United States is declining.
  In the international security dialogue, arms control remains an important guiding ideology. For example, the strategic stability dialogue between the governments of the United States and Russia and the strategic stability dialogue between Chinese and American scholars are still based on the strategic stability theory. International dialogue requires some cooperation and win-win ideas as the foundation, and unilateralism cannot be the guiding principle of dialogue. In my country’s national defense construction, arms control is still an important strategic thinking. For example, strategic stability requires the improvement and maintenance of nuclear retaliation capabilities. If a new technology improves nuclear offensive capabilities while impairing nuclear retaliation capabilities, we should adopt a cautious attitude toward this technology. Even in an environment of international competition, the strategic thinking of arms control has important value. For example, some reconnaissance operations by the United States in the South China Sea not only infringe upon and threaten our sovereignty, but also undermine the strategic stability of China and the United States. Therefore, we can respond to the approach of the United States in reconnaissance in the South China Sea with the idea of ​​strategic stability. In the future, we will welcome more serious discussions on arms control international cooperation in the international community. Research on arms control strategic thinking is of great significance for responding to and participating in these discussions.
  In addition to the aforementioned strategic stability theory, there are some other important arms control strategic thinking that also deserve our attention. This includes the suicide injury effect of armaments, the prevention of accidental escalation of conflicts, and humanitarianism. Most armaments may be accompanied by suicide damage effects while performing their combat damage effects. The greater the number of armaments, the stronger the damage effect, and the more obvious the suicide damage effect may be incidental. Taking some restraint in the development and deployment of armaments is an important way to slow down the effects of suicide injuries. Some high-tech military applications, such as networks and artificial intelligence, can greatly improve the efficiency of armaments. At the same time, the risk of accidental upgrades may also be entangled in these military applications. While improving the efficiency of armaments, preventing accidental escalation of conflicts is an important task. Humanitarianism is an important principle in handling military conflicts. In the context of declining international cooperation in arms control, many scholars try to apply some basic principles of existing international law to new technological environments, such as the technological environment of networks and artificial intelligence, to interpret these basic principles and recommend some new ones. International humanitarian norms. Paying attention to the study of these important strategic thinking in arms control is conducive to improving our country’s comprehensive security in an all-round way.