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Beyond Arms Control: How to Deal with Nuclear Weapons

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Nuclear arms control is often considered not worth the effort now that the Cold War is over. But the nuclear threat is anything but over. Several thousand strategic nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert in U.S. and Russian arsenals. Many more are insecurely stored. Though the arms control problem needs to be faced by both countries, neither one has the stomach for another Cold War-style, 500-page treaty like START I. The new model is the 2002 Moscow Treaty-a simple, 3-page commitment to reduction. Such short treaties now make sense because both countries have many ways to know what is going on inside each other's nuclear arsenal. START I is still very important, but it is no longer the only tool in the box. Today, Washington and Moscow can relegate such cumbersome negotiated treaties to a few essential fronts and pursue exciting, innovative reduction efforts involving scientific and technical cooperation.