Bush Administration Sets Russian Arms Talks

By Wade Boese

With its time at the helm of U.S. nuclear policy dwindling, the Bush administration announced plans to discuss the expiring START agreement with Russia, which is pressing for a follow-on weapons-cutting treaty. But the outgoing Bush administration endorses a more modest approach and recently reiterated its case for revitalizing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and developing a new generation of nuclear warheads.

The Department of State issued a statement Oct. 17 that the United States will hold talks with other START states-parties about that accord’s scheduled Dec. 5, 2009, expiration. The meeting is supposed to take place through START’s implementing body, the Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission, in mid-November in Geneva. The other states-parties are Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, although Russia is the only former Soviet state still armed with nuclear weapons. Under the 1991 treaty, the United States and Russia slashed their deployed nuclear forces from more than 10,000 strategic warheads apiece to less than 6,000 each.

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