The United States and Russia have officially signed the new START agreement, setting up the necessary framework to reduce the world’s nuclear weapon stockpile by almost a third. Ahead of the nuclear security summit in Washington, the world was focused on Prague as U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedevey set the tone for international nuclear disarmament. James Collins participated in a live discussion on Russia Today about the importance of the new START agreement.
The new START agreement is a historic treaty which puts the world on the right trajectory, asserted Collins. He commented that people were skeptical about the first START agreement, but it has proven to be quite an achievement, as demonstrated by the huge reductions of nuclear arsenals that took place under that agreement over the course of fifteen years. The new START agreement will be important; it provides a legally binding set of rules under which the United States and Russia will continue to manage their nuclear arsenals and build them down.
The treaty has enhanced the credibility of both President Obama and President Medvedev, added Collins. It proves that both Russia and the United States are serious about controlling nuclear proliferation and insuring that nuclear materials and nuclear weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorists, non-state actors, or rogue states. The threat of terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons, Collins suggested, will be among the key issues discussed at the nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C. this week.
Collins concluded, “What encourages me is that you now have real discussion about the idea that you will have a world with no nuclear weapons. That just wasn’t the case fifteen or twenty years ago. And while we are long ways from it, I don’t think we should minimize at all the significance of this step by the two powers who have to work together in order to get us anywhere closer to a realistic possibility of having no nuclear weapons.”
The Carnegie Russia and Eurasia Program has, since the end of the Cold War, led the field of Eurasian security, including strategic nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, development, economic and social issues, governance, and the rule of law.
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