The United States and Russia are now approaching a similar turning point in their security relations and in the development of European security. The development and use of new weapons systems – strategic scope, INF coverage, cyber, space, missile defence, artificial intelligence and nuclear and conventional hypersonics – leave the prospect of a new highly dangerous and destabilizing arms race and an increased risk of conflict not only between the United States and Russia, but also with the participation of European countries. It is highly unlikely that the United States and its allies, as well as Russia, will return to a relationship guided by the search for partnership and cooperation. This would be a major abandonment of the long history of competitive relations between Russia and the West. However, there is a strong incentive on both sides to manage their competition and to preserve strategic stability and nuclear deterrence, which are at risk of being heavily re-emerged. This common interest in avoiding the most pessimistic scenarios and managing their competitive relations is the basis on which Russia and the West can act. In the 1970s, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) helped curb the continued construction of intercontinental nuclear missiles (ICBMs) by the Soviet Union and the United States. An important part of the SALT-I complex of agreements concluded in 1972 severely limited the future deployment of anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) in each country, which could be used to destroy ICTs in depth. The Treaty on Ballistic Missile Control (ABM Treaty) provided that each country had no more than two ABM application zones and could not establish a national abM defence system; a memorandum to the agreement signed in 1974 limited each party to a single area of ABM intervention. The ABM Treaty, which was based on the strategy of mutual destruction, ensured that each side remained vulnerable to the strategic offensive forces of the other side.
Another part of the SALT-I agreement froze the number of ICBMs and ballistic missiles (SLBMs) launched by submarines at their current level. The SALT II agreement (1979) imposed restrictions on the storage of several independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on both sides, which were strategic missiles equipped with several nuclear warheads capable of striking different ground targets. This agreement limited the number of MIRVs, strategic bombers and other strategic launchers on each side. Although the SALT agreements stabilized the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, they did so at very high levels of troops, with each country continuing to have a multiple of the offensive capability needed to completely destroy the other in a nuclear exchange.