Nuclear diplomacy refers to the use of diplomatic negotiations and communication to manage and regulate the development, deployment, and use of nuclear weapons. It involves discussions and agreements between countries aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, reducing nuclear stockpiles, and limiting the risk of nuclear war.
During the Cold War, nuclear diplomacy was a major factor in East-West relations. In the early 1980s, the USA and the Soviet Union were at the height of their nuclear arms race. This led to a series of negotiations between the two nations, known as the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START). These talks resulted in the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in December 1987.
The INF Treaty was the first ever treaty to eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons. Under the treaty, the USA and Soviet Union agreed to eliminate the entire inventory of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,000 kilometres. It was a major step forward in nuclear diplomacy, and helped to reduce tensions between the two superpowers.
Nuclear diplomacy can involve a range of actors, including government officials, diplomats, experts, and international organisations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Security Council.
The success of nuclear diplomacy relies on the willingness of nations to engage in dialogue and compromise, as well as on the effectiveness of international institutions in monitoring and enforcing agreements.