Breakthrough on Nuke Reduction?

The Obama administration is considering a major reduction in nuclear
weapons to as little as 1,000 warheads each for Russia and the U.S.,
according to a recent article in The Times of London.
Surprisingly, this story has received almost no attention in the U.S.
media, although it may represent the most important progress in
non-proliferation in many years.

The Obama team will reconsider
the Bush administration's plan for a missile defense deployment in
Eastern Europe -- a deployment the Russians have strongly opposed,
according to the article. Obama pledged during his campaign to open
talks with Moscow on the Start treaty, which expires at the end of the
year. That agreement calls for both countries to reduce their
stockpiles from about 10,000 to about 5,000.

But going to 1,000 would mark a major additional reduction. According to David Krieger, head of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, "This news is not just noteworthy, it could be a game-changer."

The Times quoted an unnamed administration official as saying: "Nobody would be surprised if the number reduced to the 1,000 mark for the post-Start treaty."

what a message these talks would send to other nuclear countries,"
Krieger said in an email to supporters. "Suddenly, U.S. leadership
would be unequivocal, and there would be pressure on all nuclear
nations to join in the process."

The world's nuclear stockpile
stands at about 25,000 nuclear weapons, the vast majority of which are
held by Russia and the United States.

This news falls in line with President Obama's promise during the campaign to seek a nuclear-free world:

will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal,
I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the
production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to
take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our
nuclear arsenals."

There's at least some support for a nuclear-free future from the other side of the aisle. George Shultz, secretary of state in the Reagan administration, told me in a YES!
interview that he believes the world can be safe from the global hazard
of nuclear warfare, terrorism, or accident only by eliminating nuclear

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

This article was written for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.