President Barack Obama shares President Ronald Reagan's desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons. He also shares Reagan's conviction that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must maintain its deterrent capability through a stockpile of nuclear weapons that are secure, safe and reliable.
Last week saw two major and related developments: the release of a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. The new treaty calls for modest but significant reductions in strategic weapons, accompanied by verification and transparency measures made necessary by the expiration of the original START last December.
The treaty helps move our relationship with Russia in a more constructive direction, and it sets the stage for work with other nations in getting the nuclear threat under control. The NPR is especially interesting in its broad invitation to other countries to work with the United States on strategic issues, and in its recognition of the importance of addressing regional disputes.