US and Russia say no to nukes

United States and Russia sign pact to cut down on nuclear weaponry

by Anna Frey

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will be meeting in Prague on April 8 in order to sign a historical agreement reducing the number of nuclear weapons any country is allowed to own.

This decision came about after the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expired last December. The new accord is expected to cap the number of weapons permitted at 1 500, down from the earlier maximum of 2 200.

The United States is currently estimated to control 2 150 strategic nuclear weapons, according to Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, as he told the Associated Press (AP). Once this treaty is signed the US will be required to bring this number down to the new limit within seven years.

“I think it’s still a lot, but at least they’re making an effort to cut down a little,” second semester Visual Arts student Genevieve Roy said. “I mean, we can’t really expect them to give them up all at once.”

Both countries hope that by uniting on this decision they will appear as a common front against the developing threat of nuclear terror emanating from the unstable Middle East.

This union goes a long way towards repairing the fractured relationship between the States and Russia. From the tension of the Cold War to the more recent invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, the two countries have not been on good terms. President Obama is already being congratulated on the most important foreign policy accomplishment of his presidency thus far.

“The journey we have taken from being one misstep away from mutual assured destruction to the substantial arms reductions of this new agreement is testimony to just how much the world has changed,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, according to CNN.

Though both Presidents are in accordance with the new treaty, the American Senate still needs to vote on the matter. Some opposition is expected but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is confident in its success, as she expressed to the AP. “I believe that a vast majority of the Senate, at the end of the day, will see that this is in America’s interest.”

The United States and Russia are currently in control of 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.

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