Wednesday, April 1

Presidents' Obama and Medvedev agree to START over

In a sidebar meeting at the G-20 summit, the two Presidents’ agree that they will renew discussions on reducing the two nations' warhead stockpiles. This will be the first Nuclear Arms discussions between the two nations’ since 1997. Both President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that they want to "move beyond Cold War mentalities".

The 1991 agreement between the two nuclear superpowers known as START is set to expire on December 5 of this year. START or the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty limited the two nations’ arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads. Now might be the right time to start discussing what comes next since doing so while Bush 43 was in office was not an option. Putin and Bush were far from being on the best of terms. But waiting much longer may risk lifting the limitations that are in place and opening a whole new Arms Race and “Cold War” scenario.

The two Presidents’ stated "that the era when our countries viewed each other as enemies is long over." But this is America and Russia we are talking about. The two seem to get along as well as oil and water at the best of times. Regardless, any attempts to reach a new agreement would have to overcome some rather major obstacles. The plans to deploy an anti-missile defense shield to guard against nuclear threats such as Iran is just one of those obstacles. Both Obama and Medvedev acknowledged that "differences remain over the purposes of deployment of missile-defense assets in Europe". "We discussed new possibilities for mutual international cooperation in the field of missile defense," according to a joint statement the two released. "The relationship between offensive and defensive arms will be discussed by the two governments."

An excerpt from a speech made by President Obama earlier today:

“Let me just make a brief comment. I am very grateful
to President Medvedev for taking the time to visit with me today. I'm
particularly gratified because prior to the meeting our respective teams had
worked together and had developed a series of approaches to areas of common
interest that I think present great promise.

As I've said in the past, I think that over the
last several years the relationship between our two countries has been allowed
to drift. And what I believe we've begun today is a very constructive dialogue
that will allow us to work on issues of mutual interest, like the reduction of
nuclear weapons and the strengthening of our nonproliferation treaties; our
mutual interest in dealing with terrorism and extremism that threatens both
countries; our mutual interest in economic stability and restoring growth around
the world; our mutual interest in promoting peace and stability in areas like
the Middle East.

So I am very encouraged by the leadership of the President.
I'm very grateful that he has taken the time to visit. I am especially excited
about the fact that the President extended an invitation for me to visit Moscow
to build on some of the areas that we discussed on today. And I have agreed to
visit Moscow in July, which we both agreed was a better time than January to

And my hope is that given the constructive conversations
that we've had today, the joint statements that we will be issuing both on
reductions of nuclear arsenals, as well as a range of other areas of interest,
that what we're seeing today is the beginning of new progress in the
U.S.-Russian relations. And I think that President Medvedev's leadership is --
has been critical in allowing that progress to take place.”

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