On April 8th 2010, President Obama and President Medvedev signed New START, a nuclear weapons treaty designed to increase transparency and decrease deployed nuclear forces. While tension between Russia and the U.S. has inhibited diplomatic engagement on most issues, both countries are still working towards the agreed goal of 1550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads by February 2018. But as we celebrate the national security benefits of New START, looking past the agreement towards the future of nuclear arms control requires a crystal ball.
Last week marked the 4 year anniversary of New START, the most recent arms control treaty responsible for further reductions to the bloated nuclear arsenals of both the United States and Russia. The treaty is a landmark agreement, demonstrating the value of diplomacy and the ability to increase security while simultaneously reducing both nuclear weapons and spending.
Proponents of nuclear weapons tend to downplay the number of nuclear weapons the United States possesses to forward their ‘we don’t have nukes to spare’ agenda. While it is true that according to the parameters of the New START treaty the US has 1,642 deployed nuclear warheads, this figure does not take into consideration the thousands of other nuclear weapons in our stockpile or awaiting dismantlement.