icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Let’s START again

Presidents Obama and Medvedev plan to reach new arms reduction deal by the end of 2009. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, is close to its expiry date after 15 years.

Just a few months before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the US and the USSR agreed to reduce their massive nuclear arsenals to 6,000 warheads. It came into effect three years later.

In 2002, The Treaty of Moscow was signed to reduce the number of missiles further, which was linked to START.

So far attempts to update the agreement have failed. The latest initiative from Vladimir Putin, while he was president, was in 2006.

The US, however, insisted mutual trust was enough. Doubts remain that any new detente will be in place any time soon.

“The positions on the specific way towards arms reduction, on what should we put in the treaty at this stage are very, very far from each other”, said Vladimir Orlov of Moscow’s Centre for Policy Studies.

The biggest split between the sides is a question of arithmetic. They can't agree exactly on how to count the weapons.

“The Russian side wants counted the systems that deliver the weapons. We [the US] only want to count the warheads,” said Stephen Cohen, an expert on the U.S.-Russia relations.

With the current START deal set to expire this December, Russia is optimistic about President Obama's proposal to renew and expand the treaty.

There are firm hopes on both sides that there will be new steps in disarmament and that a new START can mean a new beginning.

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.