START Talks Start
Amid a flurry of diplomacy and negotiation at the G20 Summit in London, this is perhaps the best news:
President Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev launched negotiations on a new nuclear arms treaty today, even as they agreed to pursue new and broader cooperation across a wide range of policy areas.
In a statement after a closed-door meeting, the two leaders pledged to begin immediately on a new treaty on offensive nuclear weapons to replace the 2002 Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, which expires at the end of this year. They committed to reduce their nuclear arsenals to levels lower that those mandated by the START treaty, which calls for both nations to have between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012.
"The Presidents decided to begin bilateral intergovernmental negotiations to work out a new, comprehensive, legally binding agreement on reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms," the statement says. Obama told reporters that he will travel to Moscow in July, the date by which the two leaders said their negotiators should report progress on the new arms reduction treaty.
We absolutely don't need to have the capacity to destroy the world multiple times over, and these START talks among the two top nuclear powers lead us to the vision of a nuclear-free world. Obama campaigned on this, and now he's following through. Good.