Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nuclear disarmament: Still fighting the last war

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed a treaty to shrink their nations' nuclear arsenals, the biggest such pact between the former Cold War foes in a generation.

Tenaciously negotiated by even the leaders themselves, the treaty commits their nations to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads by one-third and more than halve the number of missiles, submarines and bombers carrying them.

. . . The new treaty will shrink the limit of nuclear warheads to 1,550 per country over seven years. That still allows for mutual destruction several times over. But it is intended to send a strong signal that Russia and the U.S. — which between them own more than 90% of the world's nuclear weapons — are serious about disarmament.

The Cold War with the USSR is over. In fact, the USSR doesn't even exist any more.

The nuclear threat we must confront today is no longer from an expansive Russia in control of an expanding USSR.

Today's nuclear threat is from rogue states (Iran or North Korea or Venezuela) and terrorist groups (including al Qaedi and the Taliban) obtaining nuclear weapons.

This treaty does nothing to address today's threat. And, creating a class of unemployed Eastern European nuclear weapons scientists and technicians probably increases the likelihood that one or more of them will free lance for the bad guys.

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