Let’s face it. You’ve heard about Obama being over in Russia, but what’s it all about? For the past 6o years it has been us against the Rooskies. The Cold War was one fought with cloaks and daggers, spies and intelligence. Both sides have pushed their agendas and luck by comparing the size of their nuclear armament. Shoes have been slammed, tempers have raised, and we’ve come back from the brink of nuclear annihilation*. No more are the days of our world leaders sitting in talks, barely looking at each other while they devised to outdo the other. It is a new age, with new heads of state who want to lead the world forward. But what do we really know about the new arms talks between the United States and Russia. Here’s a breakdown of five things to make it easier for you to understand.
The talks are between President Barack Obama (U.S.) and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to reduce both countries nuclear stockpiles by as much as a third. Currently, our two nations have 90% of all nuclear weapons in the world.
The pact is a guide for negotiators as all nuclear nations work for a replacement pact for the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) arms control agreement that expires in December, 2009. It was first put in place in 1991 between the first President Bush and President Boris Yeltzin.
The plan is for Russia and the United States to help coax new countries with nuclear capability (Iran and North Korea) to give up nuclear arms ambitions and to help control the spread of terrorism and worldwide economic crisis by focusing on non-nuclear means.
Another goal of this treaty is to stop the “sense of drift” that Russia and the United States have had since World War Two when we were last allies. President Obama commented by saying, “President Medvedev and I are committed to leaving behind the suspicion and rivalry of the past.” Right now, according to the University of Maryland’s World Opinion Poll, only 15% of Russians think the U.S. plays a positive role in the world. The rest feel that we abuse our power and make Russia do what the United States wants.
The treaty also is giving the United States the ability to transport arms into Afghanistan through Russian airspace and land which will save the US approximately $133 million dollars in logistic costs per year. For our part, we are going to lighten up on Russia after military cooperation was discontinued when Russia invaded Georgia (the country, not the state next to Florida) last August. Together, we are also going to try and help on world health issues and try to locate missing soldiers, from both countries, dating back to World War Two.
*see a History Book if you don’t know what I’m talking about. You might be able to find live footage on YouTube.