By The Economist
From offices in America’s State Department and Russia’s Ministry of Defence, officials take turns “pinging” each other every couple of hours just to check the line is working. Then, almost always, silence follows. It is the dying heartbeat of global nuclear arms control.
Until March the direct link between the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centres (nrrcs) of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers was alive with messages informing each other about the movement of missiles and bombers. Under New start, which came into force in 2011 and which includes caps on long-range nuclear weapons, there were 2,000-odd such notifications in 2022. No longer. The half-yearly updates on warhead numbers have stopped, too. And there have been no on-site inspections since March 2020.