Down To 23,000 Nuclear Weapons

by Daniel Russ on April 11, 2010

From Wapo:

Today, [the Cold War] arms race has ended, and the number of nuclear weapons in the world has fallen from more than 60,000 at the peak to about 23,000 today, of which 95 percent are still in the United States and Russia. Yet we have not shed the mind-set of overkill. Even with the signing of the new strategic arms accord last week, we are still left with excess — thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons that do not make us any safer.

The agreement signed in Prague on Thursday by President Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia sets a ceiling of 1,550 nuclear warheads for each country by 2017. Obama’s nuclear posture review, released last week, all but acknowledged that this number of warheads remains high only to keep the U.S. arsenal approximately the same size as Russia’s. The document declared that “the need for strict numerical parity between the two countries is no longer as compelling as it was during the Cold War,” but it warned that “large disparities in nuclear capabilities could raise concerns on both sides and among U.S. allies and partners, and may not be conducive to maintaining a stable, long-term strategic relationship, especially as nuclear forces are significantly reduced.”

In other words, we can’t go lower without Russia going lower, too. So we remain higher than we need to.


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