After months of negotiations with Russia, Obama administration officials are hopeful about a breakthrough – possibly this week – that would enable the two sides to sign a successor to their most extensive nuclear weapons treaty before it expires Dec. 5.
The optimism stems from a trip to Moscow in late October by national security adviser James Jones, who gave his Kremlin counterpart a package of proposals for the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, according to U.S. and Russian officials. Moscow has not yet formally responded, but high-level Russian officials have reacted positively, senior U.S. officials said.
Securing a replacement for the 1991 treaty is a critical first step in President Barack Obama’s ambitious global arms-control agenda.
The new START agreement will contain relatively modest cuts in the 1,700 to 2,200 deployed warheads allowed to each side under a June 2002 agreement between President George W. Bush and then-Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a summit in July, Obama and Medvedev agreed on a new ceiling of 1,500 to 1,675 for each side.
A more contentious issue has been reducing the number of nuclear-capable bombers and land- or submarine-based missiles, with the Russians pressing for deeper cuts than the U.S. side.
sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.