Announced on 15 January 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's three-phase global nuclear disarmament plan called for the liquidation of all nuclear weapons in the world by the year 2000. 10 years after the deadline of Gorbachev's proposal, there are still 23,000 nuclear weapons remaining worldwide. A Foreign Policy article explains the possible reasons for the hesitation to implement the plan and urges U.S. President Barack Obama to act.
Hoffman writes: "Russia is now a capitalist country. Sure, the Kremlin has been authoritarian and prickly. But in what sense is Russia's behavior deterred or changed by aiming U.S. missiles at Moscow? The only answer is: The Russians also have missiles aimed at the United States, so Americans must not let down their guard. Thus, if both sides together reduced the size of those arsenals, we would reduce the rationale for them.
It was Americans, we shouldn't forget, who advised the Russians on how to build those boisterous stock markets in Moscow after the Soviet collapse. Are Americans going to target those same exchanges now with our nuclear-tipped missiles? Of course not. The two countries no longer need to deter one another with missiles, yet they still do. This is why arms control is still relevant. We need legally binding contracts to allow both sides to put down their guns without fear of cheating or surprise. "
The author lists Obama's chances for pushing the issue:
"The Nuclear Posture Review, the first since 2001 and the third since the end of the Cold War, is to be sent to Congress soon; a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is nearing completion with Russia; a nuclear materials security summit is to be held in Washington in April; a new push is to be made for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and there's a review conference for the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in May."
Hoffman notes that Obama promised to "seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." But he added, "I'm not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly -- perhaps not in my lifetime." Also he expressed his willingness to seek a new strategic arms treaty with Russia that is "legally binding and sufficiently bold."
However, Hoffman points it out:
"Obama's promise was forgotten -- by Obama. He has not talked about it as president. Naturally, there is opposition among military commanders. Their mission is readiness, so it makes perfect sense that they would want to be ready to launch at a moment's notice."
Read more of the analysis...
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