But Bush’s Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs) still mark an extraordinary moment in history, the point at which it might be said that the US truly won the Cold War. For decades, the superpowers had been piling warhead upon warhead. As historian Raymond L. Garthoff has noted, Bush’s September speech and Gorbachev’s response were a time when the arms race ran in reverse—downhill. Furthermore, the PNIs showed that ponderous negotiations aiming at a treaty were not the only way to cut nuclear arsenals. Unilateral arms control turned out not to be an oxymoron. And it was perhaps a good example of the deftness with which Bush handled the US response to the USSR’s collapse and Russia’s rebirth as a separate state.
Peter Grier, “When the Nuke Plan Changed”. Air Force Magazine, September 2011. Read the whole thing; it’s really an excellent piece on the origins of the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, the 1991 reductions in U.S tactical nuclear weapons order by President George H.W. Bush, which led the Soviet Union to take similar steps, dramatically increasing U.S. security.