The way back to the negotiating table

Since coming into office, President Obama has made reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the United States and the world a high priority. In fact, in his April 2009 speech in Prague, he pledged to seek a world without nuclear weapons. His initial efforts produced an arms control agreement with Russia in 2010, New START; it requires both sides to reduce the number of their deployed nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 by 2018.

Since then, however, his efforts to control the world’s most dangerous weapons have not just stalled; Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, appear ready to embark on a Cold War-style nuclear arms race. To prevent both countries from taking such a dangerous and costly course, the president should try to bring the Russians back to the negotiating table before he leaves office. The prospects for getting the Russians to the table do not appear promising at this time. But Obama can take a number of steps that would be good for the United States and put pressure on the Russians to resume negotiations. These steps can be placed in five categories.

This article was originally published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.