Policy Memos

START and the ABM Treaty: Is a Compromise Possible?

Policy Memo:


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As the Clinton administration's term comes to a close and a new president has been elected in Russia, the United States and Russia are realizing that their arms control negotiation record is not very impressive. Although Russia has ratified the START II treaty at last, the treaty is almost irrelevant now and the chances that it will come into force are very dim. So, it is not a surprise that Russia and the United States have started to entertain the idea of a quick arms control agreement that could be signed before President Clinton leaves office--very much like the START II treaty itself, which was signed weeks before the change of administrations in 1993.

This task is difficult, but by no means impossible. Russia and the United States have a common interest in continuing bilateral nuclear weapons reductions, so a compromise is certainly possible. This memo attempts to analyze the problems that Russia and the United States would like to solve, and to see whether a compromise agreement addressing these problems is possible. [...]

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About the author

Director, Russian Nuclear Forces Project
Russian Nuclear Forces Project, Geneva; UN Institute for Disarmament Research; Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University