Nuclear Cooperation Beyond New START

"No two countries have a greater impact on global nuclear security than the United States and Russia," writes Ambassador Steven Pifer, Director of the Arms Control Initiative at the Brookings Institution in a recent blog post.  Pifer's blog offers key areas for greater U.S.-Russia cooperation on nuclear security and details a series of high-level efforts Brookings has taken to promote them.

Pifer, a Ploughshares Grantee, said "The signing of the New START Treaty in April was a major step in reducing U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons, and it also set the stage for a successful Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in May."  Before the New START Treaty can enter into force, it must first be ratified by the U.S. Senate and the Russian Duma.  

While both countries await ratification, there are some intermediary steps the U.S. and Russia can take.  Such steps were outlined in a recent Financial Times op-ed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, in addition to an article for Russia's Kommersant from these former ministers, Brookings President Strobe Talbott, and Alexander Dynkin.

In his post, Pifer notes four areas of work for the U.S. and Russia:

  • Consultations on issues—such as verification of limits on tactical nuclear weapons—that could prepare the way for the next formal round of U.S.-Russian arms reduction negotiations 
  • Cooperation on missile defense to protect Europe, including European Russia;
  • Building on the April nuclear security summit’s agreement to secure all highly-enriched uranium and plutonium stocks by 2014; and
  • Follow-up to the NPT review conference to tighten the non-proliferation regime.

On October 15, The Brookings Insitution hosted a panel of experts involved in the dialogue on U.S.-Russia cooperation to discuss the ideas put forward in more depth.  The panel featured Ambassador Pifer, Strobe Talbott, and Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione.  The participants expanded on recommendations proposed in a recent Brookings paper, "Next Steps on U.S.-Russian Nuclear Negotiations and Nuclear Non-Proliferation," by Albright, Talbott, Ivanov, and Dynkin.