Moscow has shown no readiness to consider further nuclear cuts.

There is still a very important perhaps vital, chapter of international peace and security history to be written. On 5 April 2009 in Prague, US President Barack Obama declared his vision for achieving the ‘peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”. The leaders gathered at the Hague Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on 24 and 25 March 2014 agreed on an outcome document to continue the work to make the world a safer place by Reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world, improving the security of all nuclear material and international cooperation.

This Thursday, February 5, 2015 will mark the fourth anniversary of the entry into force of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) which President Obama and then-Russian President Medvedev signed in April 2010.

The treaty continues to serve U.S. national security interests.

The Obama administration long ago made clear its desire to build on New START and negotiate lower limits on deployed strategic nuclear forces, as well as to bring in limits on reserve strategic warheads and non-strategic nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, to date, Moscow has shown no readiness to consider further nuclear cuts. And Russia’s aggression against Ukraine over the past year has made for very difficult political atmospherics between Washington and Moscow.

While the United States and Russia continue to have differences on this issue, the United States remains convinced that missile defense cooperation and transparency between the United States and Russia and between NATO and Russia is the national security interests of all countries involved.

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty provides hard limits on Russian strategic forces at a time when Moscow is building new ballistic missile submarines, new SLBMs and new ICBMs (the United States will begin building and deploying modernized strategic systems only in the 2020s). The Joint Chiefs of Staff have supported the treaty.

The data exchanges, notifications and inspections provide a great deal of transparency into Russian strategic forces (and vice versa). Not surprisingly, therefore in 2013, they even concluded that the United States could further reduce its strategic arsenal—by up to one-third below New START’s limit of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads—without endangering U.S. security. The treaty has greater importance now, at a time of increased bilateral tension.

Continuing to observe New START, however, remains in U.S. national security interests. The United States needs to respond to Russia’s egregious violation of the post-war European security order in Ukraine.

  • These issues will be further highlighted at @SIPRI lecture on 4 February in Stockholm: The future of President Obama’s ‘Prague Vision’: Assessing the way forward to a world free of nuclear weapons by Dr Joseph F. Pilat, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • On February 6 @BrookingsInst will host @AmbassadorRice for the launch of President Obama’s National Security Strategy.
  • And on February 9th there is a Diplomatic Conference in Vienna: The Contracting Parties of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), with EU:s Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, meet at the IAEA in Vienna.
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