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A Farewell to Nuclear Arms

MOSCOW – Twenty-five years ago this month, I sat across from Ronald Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland to negotiate a deal that would have reduced, and could have ultimately eliminated by 2000, the fearsome arsenals of nuclear weapons held by the United States and the Soviet Union.

For all our differences, Reagan and I shared the strong conviction that civilized countries should not make such barbaric weapons the linchpin of their security. Even though we failed to achieve our highest aspirations in Reykjavik, the summit was nonetheless, in the words of my former counterpart, “a major turning point in the quest for a safer and secure world.”

The next few years may well determine if our shared dream of ridding the world of nuclear weapons will ever be realized.

Critics present nuclear disarmament as unrealistic at best, and a risky utopian dream at worst. They point to the Cold War’s “long peace” as proof that nuclear deterrence is the only means of staving off a major war.