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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 19:44 GMT
US nuclear pledge: A welcomed decision?
US President George W Bush has made an historic pledge to cut America's nuclear arsenal by up to two-thirds.

Speaking after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, President Bush said the US would reduce operational nuclear warheads from about 7,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 over the next decade.

The two leaders also discussed US plans for missile defence and the subsequent fate of the bilateral Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, but no agreement was made on the matter.

Both men stressed that the relationship between their countries had transformed from that of the Cold War era. The Russian leader said he appreciated the cuts in the United States' nuclear stockpiles and said Russia would try to respond in kind.

Do you welcome this decision by the US? Does this represent a move towards nuclear disarmament? Or do you think this is a hasty decision in light of recent threats to US security?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Is it simply an exercise to dispose of old weapons that are no longer of value?

Giselela, UK
How can we be sure that more weapons will not be proliferated in secret? Can either the US or the Russian government ever be trusted to do what they say they are doing? Is it simply an exercise to dispose of old weapons that are no longer of value?
Giselela, UK

All very well but they needed another mutual worldwide threat before they could agree to it.
T.J. Cassidy, U.S.A.

It's still annihilation if there's nuclear war

Tom O'D, UK
What does it matter whether they reduce the numbers? There are still enough warheads to wipe everyone out! It's still annihilation if there's nuclear war.
Tom O'D, UK

Just another load of hogwash. Yes, I believe in the two-thirds cut in the arsenal, but I also believe that the cut will be erased with a new model of missile. All talk and not one jot of truth in what George says.
Joanne, UK

Bush is trying to fool the world again

Elena, England
Bush is trying to fool the world again and needs to smooth-talk the Russian government in order to gain support for eventual strikes against the target to be considered next - Iraq! Only four months ago Bush did not know who General Musharraf was, he did not want anything to do with the Kyoto agreement and his world consisted only of America. Suddenly his concept changed and he needs friends and allies to complete his father's dreams. Next target Iraq. Just wait and see.
Elena, England

When George W Bush entered office I feared for US foreign relations and the environment...thus far George W Bush has been tested VERY strongly. His actions so far are commendable. The very fact that Putin is going to his ranch this weekend is amazing when you think of the cold war not long ago. Move on with nuclear disarmament. I just hope that George W Bush can impress the world as much with a follow up environment policy.
Daryl, UK

That sort of amount of nuclear material must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands

Rhys Jaggar, England
I have to say it: George W Bush is a quixotic mixture. Everyone said he was a hot headed gunslinger and naive in foreign policy terms. What I see is someone not bound by past conventions, nor bowed through fruitless struggles. He has seized his moment in history and, at least to date, history will judge him well.

This decommissioning process will cement new relationships and offers the USSR an impetus to move steadily away from a Mafia-ridden society ruled by drug runners, by freeing up capital for more ethical investments. The process of decommissioning will be vital. That sort of amount of nuclear material must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. I'm sure that both the Russians and the US would be happy to allow an international inspectorate to oversee the process, not to search for breaches by the parties, but to ensure the safe disposal or storage of the material on behalf of all mankind.
Rhys Jaggar, England

I suppose this means they only have the capacity to exterminate the human race, say, 3 times over rather than 10. Still it reduces the risk of accidents.
Malcolm McMahon, York, UK

My first question would be - what are you going to do with all the nuclear weapons that you are getting rid of? If they fall into the wrong hands then there could be massive repercussions. They need to be destroyed properly if this is to be done in the right way. Otherwise, a good idea in my opinion.
Will Faulkner, Hale, Cheshire, UK

Lets not forget that Russia has been trying to push for this for decades. It is about time we realised the futility of the Cold War.
Jan, UK

It is now time for Russia to make such a move as well

James, England
Any move towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of warheads is to be welcomed. Nuclear war has the capability to wipe out humanity and this move will significantly increase confidence in the common sense of the US government. It is now time for Russia to make such a move as well.
James, England

It's not a hasty decision and is entirely appropriate given the post-cold war environment between the Russians and the USA. The USA will still have more than sufficient numbers of nuclear weapons to defend and deter. It also is useful in illustrating to nations like China, India, Pakistan etc that building large arsenals of nuclear weapons is not only inappropriate, it's contrary to the contemporary norm of those who have lead the world in the possession of such weapons.
Stephen, USA

The cutting of nuclear armaments will not only bring more trust between the superpowers of the world but also boost the economies of these nations. This is because the massive organisations required for nuclear weapon storage and launch sites can be reduced as some of these are closed. Both the US and Russia could make use of this money that would be spared.
Peter, Finland

At last - maybe this will reduce up to two-thirds the amount of nuclear material lost as well.
Martin, England

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