Press Releases

CSBA Releases Report on History’s Lessons for Contemporary Arms Control Policy

Washington, DC, September 22, 2021 – The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), one of the nation’s premier centers for understanding competition and conflict, this week released Arms Control: Can Its Future Be Found in Its Past?, by CSBA Counselor Amb. Eric S. Edelman. 

In the report, Edelman reevaluates the treaties of the late 1980s and early 1990s - which many analysts regard as the "golden age" of arms control - to explore the negotiations and subsequent strategic developments that led to the end of this era. He describes the factors that disrupted or diminished the value of those arms control agreements and analyzes them in the context of the Cold War and its aftermath. While some may yearn for the return of that period, Edelman finds the current global scene more akin to the multipolar interwar years of the 1920s and 1930s than to the era of U.S.-Soviet arms pacts. In examining the history of arms control in the early to mid-20th century, Edelman contends that it is imperative that policymakers consider the "far past" to avoid conceptual mistakes in the near future.

“Eric Edelman brings enormous diplomatic experience and masterful historical command to the study of arms control,” said Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, CSBA’s President and CEO. “His trenchant observations on how the arms negotiations of the 20th century can help guide policy today are of great value to government officials and scholars alike.”

Eric S. Edelman has served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House, where he led organizations providing analysis, strategy, policy development, security services, trade advocacy, public outreach, citizen services, and congressional relations. As undersecretary of defense for policy (August 2005-January 2009), he was DoD's senior policy official, overseeing strategy development with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counterproliferation, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. He served as U.S. ambassador to Finland in the Clinton administration and Turkey in the Bush administration and was Vice President Cheney's principal deputy assistant for national security affairs.


CSBA is an independent, nonpartisan policy research institute established to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy and investment options. CSBA’s assessments focus on key questions related to existing and emerging threats to U.S. national security, and its goal is to enable policymakers to make informed decisions on matters of strategy, security policy, and resource allocation. 

Media Contact:  William Bodie, 202-719-1358