Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2010

Controlling the Further Spread of Nuclear Weapons

Henry Sokolski

April 2010

Council on Foreign Relations


The replacement for the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START), which presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed in April 2010, marks the first legally binding arms control agreement to be reached in nearly twenty years. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in May 2010, where the topic of nuclear disarmament will be discussed, the elimination of nuclear weapons will be viewed as a practical possibility. While this prospect can be easily dismissed as an optimistic or fleeting trend, it should instead be harnessed as a means to bolster international security, or at least not to make matters worse. This requires both sound insights into what is and is not possible, and in Washington, sensitivity to an increasing number of contentious political views regarding nuclear controls.