This week, the G8 Summit convened at the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland as the world’s eight most prosperous industrialized nations met to discuss a laundry list of issues that the international community faces. At the forefront of topics being discussed is the Obama proposed reduction of nuclear warhead stockpiles to Putin. The U.S. leader assured Putin that both countries could safeguard their peoples with one-third fewer nuclear armaments.
Obama underscored that while the current threats are not nearly as indelible as they once were – as seen at the height of the Cold War – democratic nations must be wary of existential threats that can foment such as nuclear proliferation and societal circumstances that could boon extremism if left unabated.
“So long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” Obama said to a crowd that numbered more than 6,000 persons in his address. He vowed to the people to renew rounds of talks with Russia aimed at reducing the nuclear arms stockpiles that both nations hold.
Russia, however, was not so tentative to the matter. They reiterated their discontent with the missile defense systems that the U.S. has deployed domestically and abroad, which in essence nullify a large part of the nuclear threat to the U.S. and its allies, and were certain to express that such talks should be inclusive of other nuclear powers as well.
Obama is seeking to forge an accord with Russia to reduce both nations’ weapons stockpiles. The U.S. and Russia hold the largest nuclear stockpiles in the world today. Previously, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty known as New START was initiated in 2010, a mandate that evokes that both nations must reduce their stockpiles to no more than 1550 deployed nuclear warheads by the year 2018.
Analysts speculated that the growing tensions between the U.S. and Russia mostly center upon the bloody civil war that is brewing in Syria, and that forward movement on the issue is unlikely at best. Russian President Vladimir Putin is a stark backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whereas the U.S. and its European allies are in favor of toppling the regime and replacing it with a democratic government.
Yuri Ushakov, the foreign policy adviser for Putin, advised that any proposition of nuclear arms reductions must involve other nuclear powers.
“Other countries should be in the process of cutting their nuclear arsenal as well,” Ushakov said in a statement to reporters. “The situation is far from that one in the ’60s and ’70s when only the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union held a dialog on reducing their nuclear arms stockpile.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin emphasized that so long as the U.S. continues to build and deploy missile defense systems that there is little wiggle room for arms reduction, something that continues to be the source of much friction between the two nations.
“Development of the shield and the sword are mutually interconnected,” he told reporters while answering questions in St. Petersburg. “Not to understand this is either lie, bluff or demonstration of deep unprofessionalism.”