Yet the stark reality is U.S. and Russia maintain over 20,000 nuclear weapons, many of them on hair-trigger alert, ready to launch on a few minutes’ notice. Many are tens or hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, which leveled that city and killed over 140,000 people.
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement, while welcome, is a modest reduction, leaving the U.S. and Russia with over 1,500 deployed, long-range “strategic”, nukes, and thousands more “tactical”, short-range weapons and “reserve” nukes in storage. U.S. Senate ratification of New START, where 67 votes are required by the Constitution to approve treaties, may prove difficult, especially without conditions supporting modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex that would undercut the treaty’s thrust and appear hypocritical to the rest of the world.
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