Unblocking the Road to Zero: US and Russia

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Can US-Russian nuclear reductions go low enough to make a nuclear weapon-free world possible? 

On July 6th, the Kremlin and the White House announced that they would be negotiating a new nuclear arms reductions agreement with the goal of lowering their respective strategic warhead arsenals to a range of 1500-1675 and their strategic delivery vehicles to between 500 and 1100.  But this is merely the first step: the leaders of the US and Russia have each repeatedly affirmed over the past year their willingness to eliminate all nuclear weapons. 

“I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

US President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009

“If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it, along with – I hope – other nuclear powers that officially or unofficially possess it, we will of course welcome and facilitate this process in every possible way.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, June 10, 2009

How realistic is the goal?  What obstacles will the two largest nuclear powers need to overcome to achieve a world without nuclear weapons?  These questions are explored in Unblocking the Road to Zero – Volume V: Russia and the United States

The authors conclude that while political obstacles remain to be overcome, there is a real possibility of rapid progress toward deep reductions in the two nations’ nuclear arsenals – deep enough to allow soon the beginning of multinational talks to eliminate all nuclear weapons world-wide. In this fifth volume of the Stimson Center’s Nuclear Security publication series exploring the obstacles to the achievement of global zero, Washington’s perspective is presented by Series Editor Barry Blechman and the Stimson Center’s Frank Valliere and Alex Bollfrass. Dmitri Trenin, director of the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, addresses the leadership role that the United States and Russia must play to facilitate global disarmament and how the total elimination of nuclear weapons by the two largest stockpile holders can be achieved. 

In partnership with the World Security Institute, Stimson’s project on Nuclear Security seeks to examine the obstacles blocking the path to zero nuclear weapons in order to help all responsible governments perceive negotiated nuclear disarmament as a viable and practical policy option.


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