IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Good news, of sorts

President Obama is in Russia (you can find this in the media, squeezed between information about Michael Jackson’s funeral, etc… 🙂 ).  He has concluded an agreement with Russian President Medvedev on reducing nuclear weapons.   One article I found put it this way:

“BARACK Obama yesterday thrashed out a deal which could see Russia and the US scrap about 1000 nuclear warheads each.
Obama, determined to rebuild relations strained by Russia’s war with Georgia and the US’s European missile defence plans, signed a preliminary agreement with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev at a Moscow summit.
The deal commits the two countries to cutting their nuclear warhead arsenals to as few as 1500 each, the lowest levels of any US-Russia arms control deal.
The agreement was signed by the two presidents after about three hours of talks at the Kremlin and is designed to guide negotiators working on a replacement for the strategic arms control reduction treaty (START), which expires in December.
Under current treaties, each country is allowed a maximum of 2200 warheads and 1600 launch vehicles.
But experts believe both sides have more than that and the new targets will effectively mean them giving up about 1000 warheads.”

If you refer back to an earlier post on this blog about nuclear weapons, you might feel inclined to say “yes, but…they still have enough ‘firepower’ to destroy the planet several times over”, and you would, according to my non-expert calculation be right.

So, how does one interpret this new agreement?  In the context of recent (ie moderately tense) U.S.-Russian relations it is probably a good thing:  a contribution to stability, and at least short term peace (refer back to the article cited above to see all the areas where ties were strengthened between the countries).    However, as discussed here , the basic problem of nuclear arms as symbols of power and prestige in international relations remains, and it seems to me that any new momentum towards disarmament created by this agreement has to be “broadened and deepened” if the perceived importance of nukes to national security is to change, and the world to become a (somewhat) safer place.  This would require, IMHO, a significant change in the very concept of “security”…but that is another story…stay tuned!

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July 7, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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