BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

How important is New Start treaty for Russia and US?

20:15 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Russia's lower house of parliament has given a preliminary approval to a US-Russian arms treaty.How important a move is this for US-Russia relations?

After months of wrangling in the US Senate, where it needed a two-thirds majority, the New Start treaty had won enough support before the voting ended on Wednesday.

The treaty requires the US and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear warheads by some 30%.

How significant is the US ratification of the treaty? What do you hope its implications will be? Do you think the treaty goes far enough?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    It's an important step but it is also purely symbolic. The ability to destroy the world a 100 times over has been reduced to destroying the world only 50 times over, what does that mean, not much but it's a start. The treaty clearly does not go far enough but it's another step in the right direction.

    It's about time we stop wasting money on weapons that only a crazy person would use. Let's face it, if any country and it does not matter which country, actually uses a nuke that country would be toast. One sure way of assuring that your country will be wiped clean from the history books would be to use a nuke.

  • Comment number 2.

    Mutually Assured Destruction still guaranteed no matter what reduction.

  • Comment number 3.

    America is trying to look friendly with Russia, but it is encouraging South Korea to unfriendly with North Korea!

  • Comment number 4.

    Maintaining mutually assured destruction - which has worked inasmuch as we haven't had a nuclear attack since 1945 - at a lower cost? Seems win-win to me.

  • Comment number 5.

    PragueImp given recent events I don't think South Korea needs any encouragement. As far as the treaty goes its a modest step in the right direction. What I find worrying is the number of Republicans who seem to be more interested in scraping a little more out of the pork barrel in the shape of promises to waste money on upgrading existing weapons or a pointless missile defence system.

  • Comment number 6.

    3. At 9:39pm on 22 Dec 2010, PragueImp wrote:
    America is trying to look friendly with Russia, but it is encouraging South Korea to unfriendly with North Korea!

    With North Korea sinking South Korean ships without provocation and launching attacks that kill civilians in South Korea, I think that's an extraordinarily stupid comment.

    Back to the main subject: By and large I think nuclear treaties are a waste of time. The fact is nuclear weapons are a real technology and to be without them when countries such as Iran and North Korea are actively pursuing them is insane. Mutually assured destruction is as safe as the world will ever ever be.

  • Comment number 7.

    Any reduction in nukes is good, but this American doesn't want any options taken off the table. From what I've heard, this treaty has language to the effect that the U.S. won't ever use nuclear weapons in certain applications, such as retaliation for another country using chemical or biological weapons on U.S. forces or citizens. I don't agree with that and in this ever-uncertain world I want my country to preserve all options in case the unthinkable occurs. There is no sane reason for voluntarily applying handcuffs to ourselves and shame on Obama and the US Congress if they have just done that to score political points with the Russians.

  • Comment number 8.

    As there is enough firepower in the arsenals to kill every living human being, the New Start treaty simply means that fewer people can be killed more than once.

  • Comment number 9.

    Oh, it's good, but we really have no issue with Russia. I think they are one of the few countries the USA has never had a war with, outside of France. If we didn't blow each other up with 10K+ weapons, we will not do it now. The thing to worry about is accuracy and modernization of launch detection systems, so no errors happen. But, outside of that we are similar countries made up of many diverse peoples.

  • Comment number 10.

    It is mostly symbolic of keeping the arms race from continuing to be a major factor between the 2 countries.

    It also continues the spirit of cooperation, in spite of the differences.

    In other words....mostly psychological, on both sides.

  • Comment number 11.

    3. At 9:39pm on 22 Dec 2010, PragueImp wrote:
    //
    America is trying to look friendly with Russia, but it is encouraging South Korea to unfriendly with North Korea!
    //

    It is the North Korean regime that has nuclear weapons - not the South, isn't it? It is the North Korean regime that lobs artillery shells into the South and sinks it's ships, isn't it?

    And you think the South is the 'un-friendly' neighbour? Absurd comment.


  • Comment number 12.

    At this point the question is not the number of nuclear weapons, but their owners will to use them. The treaty doesn't change that. The World's fear is for weapons to fall into the hands of those who have the will to use them. The wide use of nuclear power makes that danger all too real, and right now the world seems powerless to prevent that.

  • Comment number 13.

    Very important.

  • Comment number 14.

    America will continue to be vulnerable to outside attack as long as they keep on electing incompetant presidents like Dubya Bush in to office.

  • Comment number 15.

    Really ? And who's going to respect it ? Answer: nobody

  • Comment number 16.

    Most sensible countries that have these dreadful WMD want nothing more than to dismantle and bury them forever.

    The nutcase regimes of Iran, NK Burma and Syria are either feverishly building them or improving delivery technologies.

    India & Pakistan both developed them, despite a lack of clean running water in some parts.

    The NPT has been an abject failure, and China and Russia are in large part to blame for this. I think it's only a matter of time before the madmen make 9/11 look like a picnic in the park.

  • Comment number 17.

    16. At 11:07pm on 22 Dec 2010, Simon Morgan wrote:
    Most sensible countries that have these dreadful WMD want nothing more than to dismantle and bury them forever.
    The nutcase regimes of Iran, NK Burma and Syria are either feverishly building them or improving delivery technologies.
    India & Pakistan both developed them, despite a lack of clean running water in some parts.
    The NPT has been an abject failure, and China and Russia are in large part to blame for this. I think it's only a matter of time before the madmen make 9/11 look like a picnic in the park.
    ..........................................................
    Since when as MAD been ever sensible, could you explain this please?
    Where do you suppose the “nutcase regimes” get their tech from? Not the “sensible” countries eh?
    In terms of putting the health of citizens first the US and UK have nothing to brag about!
    Blame everyone else, apart from......................................!!!
    How important is New Start treaty for Russia and US? Depends on who you ask!

  • Comment number 18.

    The New Start Treaty between Russia and the United States is a much welcomed step forward. It not only reduces excessive and dangerous proliferation of nuclear warheads, but will expedite the decommissioning of a large number of aged and therefore potentially dangerously deteriorating weapons without necessitating replacement. On the other hand we must remember that China, and its closest allies, are ambitious in their diverse nuclear weapons programs, and the maintenance of sufficient deterrence is a vital component of any hoped to be effective strategic program. It is also an unfortunate fact that the most sophisticated and complex of nuclear weapons may be the only immediately available strategic and battlefield answer to the predicted development and use of biotechnical weapons, where a neutron bomb may have the only known and rapid enough efficacy currently available to enable meaningful response.

  • Comment number 19.

    9. At 10:17pm on 22 Dec 2010, ummm OK wrote:
    Oh, it's good, but we really have no issue with Russia. I think they are one of the few countries the USA has never had a war with, outside of France. If we didn't blow each other up with 10K+ weapons, we will not do it now. The thing to worry about is accuracy and modernization of launch detection systems, so no errors happen. But, outside of that we are similar countries made up of many diverse peoples.
    -*-
    Wrong: ("one of the few countries the USA has never had a war with")
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_Bear_Expedition
    "The Polar Bear Expedition (also known as the Northern Russian Expedition, the American North Russia Expeditionary Force - ANREF or the American Expeditionary Force North Russia - AEFNR) was a contingent of about 5,000 U.S. troops that landed in Arkhangelsk, Russia as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and fought the Red Army in the surrounding region during the period of September 1918 through July 1919."

  • Comment number 20.

    Very significant because it can oblige other nations to do the same. The US and Russia are trying to indirectly put pressure on North Korea and Iran since these "rebel nations" have been playing with fire and getting on the world's nerve.

  • Comment number 21.

    HOAX on Nations aspiring to join the Exclusive NUKE Club. Missiles supposed to have been scrapped under previous "Treaties" DECADES ago, are still Languishing for something to FRY.

  • Comment number 22.

    Marshmallows are nice.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm not sure which of the two countries I trust the least when it comes to holding Nuclear weapons, both governments are devious, vain, and highly trigger-happy.

  • Comment number 24.

    I couldn't care less about the Americans.

  • Comment number 25.

    Seems like good news. Makes me wonder just how many nukes is enough nukes. It is Christmas time, and I don't have any nukes, hint hint.

  • Comment number 26.

    I always get a laugh from comments submitted by the BBC's readers who bash Americans. These are the same readers who view Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc., in high regard. Funny, though, how many people line up outside the embassies of those countries attempting to obtain entry visas versus the numbers who flock to America's shores daily. The United States has been the world's foremost beacon of democracy and freedom since its creation. Can Russia make that claim? A nation that murders journalists at whim, invades and intimidates neighbors because it can and supplies some of the world's most rogue nations with nuclear technology? Sorry, but I'm backing the USA, even if it got snookered into signing a treaty the Russians will never abide by.

  • Comment number 27.

    3. At 9:39pm on 22 Dec 2010, PragueImp wrote:
    "America is trying to look friendly with Russia, but it is encouraging South Korea to unfriendly with North Korea!."

    Hmm,N.Korea in last 12 months practically declared war on its Southern neighbour twice by sinking a ship and shelling a civilian populated island.

    So please explain your opinion of how America and S.Korea are at fault.

  • Comment number 28.

    The usa spends billions on nuclear weapons and has been involved in more wars than any one else since ww2.Today ,millions in america have lost their jobs and have no health care and no welfare state like any of the european countries.
    President obama has thrown away the "for all mankind" dream of sending humans back to the moon.He has failed to bring back to america jobs.With consumer jobs moving to china and even mexico,there is a giant madness of ego.Nuclear weapons instead of jobs.
    America,britain and the new economic super powers will have to choose between paying for weapons and war or health care with its ever growing new wonder drugs and growing costs.The fight for who pays for education can easily be paid for by the abandoning of nuclear weapons.Something we in the uk have failed to see.By moving the military industrial complex to a space agency and space exploration complex,the high tech jobs and technical advancement can be kept by the now arms industries.
    It is viatl we use the un more and talk more and even co-operate in building better lives for all.

  • Comment number 29.

    Like the name says its a 'start', but as I understand it Russia and America will still have over 1500 nukes each, even after it's ratified.

    The problem is that nuclear weapons cannot be un-invented anymore than electricity can.

    So long as country posseses even a couple of nuclear weapons, other countries will want them as well, who wants to have a spear if their neighbour has a gun.

  • Comment number 30.

    [24. At 11:56pm on 22 Dec 2010, U8860545 wrote:

    I couldn't care less about the Americans.]

    Probably good then, that nobody cares what you think.
    America is our ally and together we make many mistakes in terms of international actions, but if you think the world would be a better place if we were closer to Russia, China, North Korea, Iran et al, ... well good luck with that ;)

  • Comment number 31.

    The treaty is a step in the right direction. We need a few more steps before it is too late.
    In President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech he said he will “seek a world without” nuclear weapons. But after START has been fully implemented, there will still be thousands of nuclear missiles in place.
    Getting rid of the rest will be a struggle as long as possession is also seen as a power badge by the Nuclear Weapons States. In fact possession of such weapons is a sign of stupidity. We need full implemetation of nuclear disarmament under the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and that includes the nations that have yet to sign it.
    The world is facing a much greater threat in the form of Climate Change which could lead to the deaths of millions, or billions, without another nuclear weapon ever being detonated. If Climate Change becomes a runaway process, the chaos that ensues could also jeapordise nuclear security. It's time Governments, including Britain's, rid us the nuclear weapons that can destroy everyone many times (MAD), and channelled more of their time, energy, resources and expertise into stopping Climate Change.
    Anything less will be failure.

  • Comment number 32.

    The nuclear arms reduction treaty, Start, is a forward moving step for both the US and Russia. It is a win-win scenario. Both the US and Russia gain in national security by the reduction of the quantity of nuclear weapons deployed and in the good verification standards implemented for weapons inspections. A failure to ratify the treaty would have fed conflict between the two nations. The entire world would have suffered due to the animosity which would have been released into the politics of international relations in the world. A poverty of good binding peace treaties is as bad as an overabundance of them. It was essential to get this treaty put into force to maintain world peace. Such achievement was accomplished. We all benefit by the result.

  • Comment number 33.

    One is too many nuclear weapons. They are a bunch of *&*^% loons hurting folks and wanting to hurt folks. The military of the world need to be dismantled and every citizen with any sense can put a Amen to that.

    Do you know what one weapon can do now? Take out the width of the distance between Europe and the USA. A whole continent in size. Like a lit match box, just one missile in the right place and a dentition is made changing the Earths magnetic pole and the Earth is set off it's axis.

    Evil instead of Good is being worshiped destroying and suffering human and animal kind. It is a World of Falsified Governments simply dabbling in absolute destruction and exploitation of the good wishes and wills of the worlds people.

  • Comment number 34.

    This is bad news for Americans. The devil is in the details.

  • Comment number 35.

    This while US is in process of Supplying Israel with Enriched Uranium to Manufacture more Nukes. They've also been trying to force-feed India with Enriched Uranium for "Considerations", probably with Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, over whom India wields INFLUENCE

  • Comment number 36.

    US is re-deploying everyone from Afghanistan to Korea. US wants war there so they will stage something there so they have a reason to attack.
    You want to be a bigger man then you have to step on somebody's toes.
    Russia will not agree and if they will they won't do what they say, same goes for US.
    Politics = lies = hypocrisy.
    Say one thing, do another hoping to deceive an enemy.

  • Comment number 37.

    When you cut 30 per cent 70 pc remain and that is huge. That's atrocious as suspicion still lurks around. The tag of who is the most powerful among world nation still rules. US-Russia is playing this game over decades. This does not augur well for the world at large. One can still bribe a Russian scientist and buy a 'nuclear' briefcase. Terrorists still have a field day. In brief, it is impossible to do away completely with nuclear potential ad infinitum.

  • Comment number 38.

    China says Thank you.

  • Comment number 39.

    It saves money...

    That's about it.

  • Comment number 40.

    Not very, both the US and Russia will not honour it, but go through the motions, as they have done in the past. Both are as corrupt as the other.

  • Comment number 41.

    It is the good news that the US Senate ratified the nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Last year we welcomed the Prague speech of President Obama stressing the abolishment of nuclear weapons. But the situation concerning nuclear weapons has been getting worse for two years. It is said that North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear weapons. At such a time it is necessary for two big super powers to take the initiative in reducing their nuclear arsenals.

  • Comment number 42.

    How important is New Start treaty for Russia and US?
    ---------------------------------------------------

    BBC seems to be making an art form out of asking the most foolish questions.

    The sight of a US senator/Congressman stating that the US would still have enough Nukes to blow the world many times over was quiet telling even if sickening.

  • Comment number 43.

    Both countries agreed to work towards a nuclear arms treaty. First and foremost parity in strength never pose a threat. Secondly, the nuclear weapons in both countries are obsolete hence replacement with more sophisticated arsenal is needed.

    If the world thinks of banning and ending this tug of war created by the military industrial complex, it will be the right step to take NOW. Although the nature of the human beast will not whittle, crafting bows and arrows and machetes will be a threat versus phosphorus bombs, uranium laced rockets, guided missiles and the whole nine yards.

  • Comment number 44.

    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US. Talk down America all you want. It's easy. The US constitution guarantees the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. This right is afforded to most non citizens as well. What would have happened to Assange if he "wikileaked" info about China or Russia. He'd be long dead by now. The US always has UK's back when it's up against it and you know it mates.

  • Comment number 45.

    Those boy's toys of madness on both sides have been developed, manufactured, maintained than destroyed for billions and billions.
    One step back to normality is not a real change in psychics of those at power who's real interests lies in the hysteria of permanent confrontation with no matter whom...
    The meaning of Homo Sapiens needs to be refined.

  • Comment number 46.

    It makes no sense! While it reduces stockpiles of strategic warheads it does not address the huge amount of tactical nuclear warheads held by the Russians. Over 10,000 evidently held by the Russians when the U.S. have just a few hundred. Not only this but the agreement blocks the U.S. from developing missile defenses. Isn't this a bit balmy when crack pot countries like North Korea and Iran have a trigger happy leadership and expanding capacities.

  • Comment number 47.

    Nuclear War = Nuclear Winter = An end to Global Warming

  • Comment number 48.

    Idealogically it is right but in reality do you think the arms manufacturers and the power mad individuals in each country are going to put down their arms????

    Deluded all of you, I am not a cynic really I am optomistic in most cases but when politicians can say we will do everything in our power to make the world abetter place, do you believe them?

    Comments about obsolete weapons are ridiculous, you could still set off an old musket, so how easy would it be to push a button if you had too.

    I bet both sides know a few things more than the Koreans or Iranians about hididg facilities from the public or satellite eye so how can you say it will all be cut back with surety?

  • Comment number 49.

    It's a great step forward towards global confidence-building START.

  • Comment number 50.

    The old or new start treaty for US and Russia nuclear cuts than how to stop the wide range of Iran's nuclear program is an important world matter.
    The US-Russia nuclear cuts can't stop or postponed the nuclear war in this world.
    Obama is weakening the superpower strength betterment of all anti American nations in this world. Superpower nuclear cuts is a suicidal action, even the childish fool won't do it. Since 2009 Obama's every word or action is just for his popularity and indirectly strengthening the power to anti American nations.

  • Comment number 51.

    The Cold War was always designed/created to stimulate the armaments industries of both countries. As was explained to me by my father-in-law, who was a high-ranking Soviet Diplomat and government adviser (in the days before independence for Ukraine, when he became a Ukrainian government official). Whilst US/USSR played war games with each other and took each other to "the brink", there was never any prospect of full-blown war. He "played the game" in supporting the warmongering rhetoric.
    When the phony Cold War was officially declared over, we were then left with stockpiles of useless ICBMs and other such lovely trinkets.
    The right moves are being made to downsize the stockpiles, but in reality 99% of all nuclear weapons could be easily de-commissioned, without causing any downgrade of military capability and/or ability to retaliate against crackpot regimes such as the Isle of Man.

  • Comment number 52.

    It is rather pathetic to foolish the public on this way knowing that the self destruction capability is on entirely different level now.
    Selling this quantitative compromise when the replacement is qualitatively different e.g. much more destructive is hypocritical.
    The confrontation now is happening on wave level where energy beams and scalar EM weapons destroy/modify the environment, reduce intellect and/or provoke natural forces to do the "job".
    Lunatic?
    Sincerely hope so.
    Wake me up if I'm dreaming...

  • Comment number 53.

    3. At 9:39pm on 22 Dec 2010, PragueImp wrote:
    America is trying to look friendly with Russia, but it is encouraging South Korea to unfriendly with North Korea!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Did you even bother to think about the comment you wrote before you wrote it, or did you just think "what another great opportunity to demonstrate my racist view of America and Americans!" Come on!

    South Korea is rightly weary of the North. Given that the North is notorious for aggressive unpredictability, the repression and subjugation of its own people and the use of bullying tactics to extract aid and financing from the rest of the world, what else is South Korea to do, but to be on its guard.

    I appreciate that you must be having a jolly old time on the old "We hate America" band wagon, but I regret to inform you that America is not responsible for the current state of affairs between North and South Korea. That honor rest solely on the shoulders of Kim il Sung and his current protégé Kim Jong il.

    North Korea is responsible for the current situation with its refusal to play ball and work toward unity and harmoney. South Korea for years has (with American support) adopted a Sunshine policy of friendship toward North Korea to which the North has abused and mocked.

  • Comment number 54.

    US and Russia are undoubtedly the two most gigantic nations as far as nuclear armament is concerned. So a nuclear non-proliferation or nuclear total reduction should begin from their accord. But it is regrettable when you look back and see that all the former alliances by the two have never yielded any fruits.

    The fight against nuclear proliferation shouldn't come from embargoing North Korea or Iran from producing nukes.

  • Comment number 55.

    r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US. Talk down America all you want. It's easy. The US constitution guarantees the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. This right is afforded to most non citizens as well. What would have happened to Assange if he "wikileaked" info about China or Russia. He'd be long dead by now. The US always has UK's back when it's up against it and you know it mates.

    just a few minor details FYI R0nan...
    first of all there was a little annoying thing called the Red Army. Secondly, regarding free speech, why is it that senior american political figures and analysts, Sara Palin et.al keep calling for the assassination of Assange? And why exactly is Assange hunted down by the USA, if USA is so pro-free speech? And are you not aware that there have been wikileaks about China and Russia?

  • Comment number 56.

    I think this one is made for Sarah Palin.

  • Comment number 57.

    "r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US...

    I think you need a reboot with new operating system...

  • Comment number 58.

    9. At 10:17pm on 22 Dec 2010, ummm OK wrote:
    Oh, it's good, but we really have no issue with Russia. I think they are one of the few countries the USA has never had a war with, outside of France.


    Whilst it is true that the nation state known as the United States of America has not been in formal war with France, the 13 colonies that preceded the creation of the USA most certainly did. The war in the UK known as the "Seven Years War" is known in the USA as the "French and Indian Wars" and is an important war in the history of the USA. The colonists fought with the British against the French and cleared them out of what is now East coast USA and the British cleared them out of Canada. Had that not been done then the USA as we know it could not have formed.

  • Comment number 59.

    As the Russian and the American public mentality is similar, those smart presidents acted in harmony to amuse them creating an excuse for a new budget deficit in advance.
    The strategic value of those weapons of last century, due to new, advanced "anti" systems, good for naive WMD hysteria only, like Iraq, Iran and NK were/are for the West...

  • Comment number 60.

    "Do you know what one weapon can do now? Take out the width of the distance between Europe and the USA. A whole continent in size. Like a lit match box, just one missile in the right place and a dentition is made changing the Earths magnetic pole and the Earth is set off it's axis."

    Complete rubbish. Nukes can take out cities not whole continents!

  • Comment number 61.

    4. At 9:58pm on 22 Dec 2010, ShinyDavidHowell wrote:

    Maintaining mutually assured destruction - which has worked inasmuch as we haven't had a nuclear attack since 1945 - at a lower cost? Seems win-win to me.


    Not only that but they've stopped me breaking my leg, we've had nuclear weapons since 1945, I haven't broken my leg since 1945 therefore nuclear weapons have stopped me breaking my leg.

    Actually we didn't get M.A.D. till the 60's but we still didn't have a nuclear war between 1945 & then. There's little doubt that potential destruction that would be caused to both sides was one of the reasons they weren't used after 1945 but any need to maintain a M.A.D. strategy has long since passed. Once we reached the hydrogen bomb stage it was pretty obvious that nuclear weapons were completely useless, even without M.A.D. all any leader who used them would do is turn themselves into the biggest mass murderer in history and gain nothing but death and destruction in the process even if the other side couldn't strike back. M.A.D. assumed the other side was mad enough to do that so made sure complete and utter destruction was inevitable. Also see #51, it was as much, if not more, economic warfare than military warfare.
    The treaty is step in the right direction, it makes sense to get rid of these useless but still extremly dangeous weapons so neither side, both of whom have displayed a tendency to paranoia, don't get scared and back away from the ultimate goal.

  • Comment number 62.

    "alex wrote:
    just a few minor details FYI R0nan...
    first of all there was a little annoying thing called the Red Army. Secondly, regarding free speech, why is it that senior american political figures and analysts, Sara Palin et.al keep calling for the assassination of Assange? And why exactly is Assange hunted down by the USA, if USA is so pro-free speech? And are you not aware that there have been wikileaks about China and Russia?"

    -I apologize for my earlier post. I had forgotten that you and all members of Parliament are perfect. Thank you for your response to set me straight. You have Merry Christmas.

  • Comment number 63.

    2. At 9:35pm on 22 Dec 2010, reenie53110 wrote:
    "Mutually Assured Destruction still guaranteed no matter what reduction."

    You represent the misconception held by many posting here in the most succinct way, which is why I've chosen to respond to you.

    You are obviously not aware of the difference between strategic nuclear weapons and tactical nuclear weapons. The ones that inspire thoughts of obliterated cities and mutually assured destruction are strategic. Tactical nuclear weapons - sometimes referred to as 'mini-nukes' - are a much more flexible option that come in sizes smaller than 1 kiloton. These are highly portable, and are sometimes configured for infantry deployment (carried and fired by a single soldier).

    When governments talk about the number of nuclear warheads they possess, they include both strategic and tactical. It is incorrect to assume that because the US has weapons with a 15 megaton yield (about 700 times greater than the one used at Nagasaki), and they have over 9,000 weapons in total, that they can wipe out an area equivalent to 6.3 million Japanese cities.

    So the truth is that mutually assured destruction was never *quite* as severe as some people made out. Further, the present day use of a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon is highly unlikely to usher in the end of civilization (although the potential for nuclear escalation must be considered before one uses a TNW against another nuclear-armed nation).

  • Comment number 64.

    "r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US...

    I think you need a reboot with new operating system...

    Tibor if you didn't get the tongue and cheek essence of that sentence maybe upgrade your own OS mate.

  • Comment number 65.

    44. At 06:35am on 23 Dec 2010, r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US. Talk down America all you want. It's easy. The US constitution guarantees the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. This right is afforded to most non citizens as well. What would have happened to Assange if he "wikileaked" info about China or Russia. He'd be long dead by now. The US always has UK's back when it's up against it and you know it mates.
    ------------------------------------
    Do you know anything of history or just what they teach in the American schooling system?

    Next you'll be suggesting that Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan were right about only US troops being at D-Day despite the fact that over 50% of the troops at D-Day were British or Canadian.

    Britain would almost certainly not have been overun by German forces having kept them at bay for 4 years prior to US involvement. Our small island status makes us pretty hard to invade and you only need to look at the one successful invasion we've ever suffered by the Normans (2 if you count the vikings but we weren't a unified state then). Britain had superior naval and air power to the Germans as well as an established infrastructure for guerrilla warfare should they ever break our defences.

    If credit is to be given to anyone for us not speaking German it has without doubt to go to the Soviet Union who had massively more resource than the US and forced Hitler to split his resources to fight on two fronts. Germany wansn't large enough to do that.

    As for the other comments. Free speech? Don't make me laugh. As soon as someone says something the republicans don't like its classed as a national security issue and those people are shipped off to a cupboard somewhere and not seen again. You only need to see the calls for Assange to be treated as a terrorist (the only terror he causes is within the American political system) to see the paranoia of the republicans.

    As for the US having the UKs back. not likely. The 'special relationship' exists only as long as America benefits. Troops to Afghanistan and Iraq? Stationing or American troops on British soil? The US didn't get involved in WWII to help the UK, they did it because they attacked the Japanese at Pearl Harbour and once they were in the war they needed to cut off the German resources supplied to the Japanese.

  • Comment number 66.

    Simon Morgan wrote"It is the North Korean regime that has nuclear weapons - not the South, isn't it? It is the North Korean regime that lobs artillery shells into the South and sinks it's ships, isn't it?

    And you think the South is the 'un-friendly' neighbour? Absurd comment."

    --
    I think your comment is absurd. What makes you believe that if someone criticize South Korea or US he/she is automatically on opposite side (maybe yes maybe no - only he/she knows). In order to criticize US/UK/South Korea do I need to start with "North Korea is bad, Russia is bad, Iran is bad..."?

    After wikileaks published enormous number of wrongdoings from western powers what makes you trust your sources you are getting from newspapers, TVs etc wich makes obvous that we are getting only one sided reports?
    I read here some people say we should trust US in regards to nuclear power. Well, at least that makes me believe she/he is not Japanese. Whoever possess nukes I don't trust. Full stop!

    Sorry, I forgot to start with: Russia is bad, Iran is bad, North Korea...

  • Comment number 67.

    44. At 06:35am on 23 Dec 2010, r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US.


    Not really true (or rather a simplification of the facts). By the time Germany declared war on the USA (note, not the other way round) in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbour, Britain had been safe from invasion for a year (though was subject to air raids and U boat blockades) and the Wermacht had failed in its objective of taking Moscow in 1941, giving the Red Army time to rebuild itself and regroup. The eventual defeat of Germany was due to the combined efforts of the Western allies and the USSR, but the USSR would probably have defeated Germany in the East eventually. However that is speculative. What is not is that it took the combined efforts of the USA, the British Empire, Free French and the USSR to totally defeat Germany. Whether one on its own could have done so or whether all bar one could have is a debate best left to military historians.

  • Comment number 68.

    The concern should not be the U.S, Russia, china, India or Israel.

    It should be irresponsible totalitarian states with unstable rulers like: Iran North Korea and Venezuela

  • Comment number 69.

    This treaty may has some significant but not sufficient to guarentee peace and harmony within or among nations. It would be better if the two nations sign a treaty to a sense that they share the responsibility to maintain peace and harmony among all nations and have the right to police the world, and set the principles and force to maintain peaceful solutions, where the United Nation has failed to do so. In this way, China, India, Iran, North Korea and others upcoming power nations will no longer be threat no matter how much more nuclear muscle they have and will have.
    On the contrary, these two nations should continue to have more nuclear power instead of reducing them in order to secure peace and save the world from nuclear conflict.

  • Comment number 70.

    68. At 10:45am on 23 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:
    The concern should not be the U.S, Russia, china, India or Israel.

    It should be irresponsible totalitarian states with unstable rulers like: Iran North Korea and Venezuela


    You really do need to make distinctions between those nations that are truly totalitarian and where its leaders have absolutely no democratic mandate (eg North Korea) and those nations where you just don't like the outcome of their democratic mandate (eg Venezuela). Iran is somewhere between the two. Does Venezuela have a nuclear weapons programme?

  • Comment number 71.

    52. At 07:47am on 23 Dec 2010, Tibor wrote:
    //
    Wake me up if I'm dreaming...
    //

    -Your're not just dreaming mate - you're comatose.

  • Comment number 72.

    "64. At 10:17am on 23 Dec 2010, r0nan42 wrote:
    ...Tibor if you didn't get the tongue and cheek essence of that sentence maybe upgrade your own OS mate."

    Could be right.
    English is my third language.
    Sorry and Merry Christmas...

  • Comment number 73.

    I remember reading a book in the early 1970s on the nuclear arms race where a Russian diplomat was interviewed. He said something along the lines of: "In Britain they debate whether it would take 20 nuclear warheads to destroy the country or whether it would take 200. We have 20,000.". After this deal, Russia still has far more then 200!

  • Comment number 74.

    35. At 01:37am on 23 Dec 2010, lordBanners wrote:
    //
    This while US is in process of Supplying Israel with Enriched Uranium to Manufacture more Nukes. They've also been trying to force-feed India with Enriched Uranium for "Considerations", probably with Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, over whom India wields INFLUENCE
    //

    -Gobbledygook.

  • Comment number 75.

    panchopablo (27)
    Agreed, North Korea started things, but the joint American-South Korean wargames close to the border are just stupid provocation. They could do their show of strength much further south so as not to raise the tension even more. This is what I mean when I say the Americans are encouraging the South to be ‘unfriendly’.

    Simon Morgan (11)
    They have both been equally ‘unfriendly’ to each other. The mentality of people in both Koreas is crazy.

    Sauron (53)
    Yes I did think about it – it was designed to provoke thought and argument.
    I don’t think racist is the appropriate term here; just because you don’t like the way a country (or perhaps its politicians) behaves doesn’t mean you are racist towards it.
    The North has been the aggressor, but South Koreans culture is also at fault. Too many people view it as a simple good against evil situation. The South also needs a stern talking to by the rest of the world.

    Alterid (6)
    Replying with argument rather than insult would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 76.

    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US. Talk down America all you want. It's easy.

    ////
    Or rather Soviet Union. Thankfully, you are so wrong otherwise we would be driving Ladas

  • Comment number 77.

    "71. At 11:04am on 23 Dec 2010, Simon Morgan wrote:
    -Your're not just dreaming mate - you're comatose..."

    That is fun...
    So why they pay me than?
    :)



  • Comment number 78.

    The best way forward is to make nuclear weapons illegal under UN supervision. Destroy all stockpiles we have and start from there. The two Koreans face off will get them nowhere, only destructions and death and misery. Leadership from both countries should get together and just pretend they had blast each other to kingdom come and amid scene of devastations they are now reconciled and begin to rebuild. That surely costs absolutely nothing. And as for the nosey Americans, they should learn to mind there own business, stop being macho or being plain childish, and go home to mummy !!

  • Comment number 79.

    This is meaningless. Both countries will still possess enough to destroy the world. This too much power in too few hands. This is unacceptable.


  • Comment number 80.

    AND ANOTHER THING.........it was the Russians who won the WW2, not the Brits, not the Yanks, not the Allied. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill referring to the Red Army in the Eastern Fronts: "..... THEY TORE THE GUTS OUT OF THE WEHRMACHT..." Need I say more !!

  • Comment number 81.

    //5. At 10:06pm on 22 Dec 2010, Mike Mullen wrote:
    PragueImp given recent events I don't think South Korea needs any encouragement. As far as the treaty goes its a modest step in the right direction. What I find worrying is the number of Republicans who seem to be more interested in scraping a little more out of the pork barrel in the shape of promises to waste money on upgrading existing weapons or a pointless missile defence system.//

    Blimey - you have to be seriously left-wing and locked in a 60s time warp to think SOUTH Korea is the 'aggressor' in the contre-temps between the two Koreas....

  • Comment number 82.

    How can compliance be proved? Who knows what these two countries have hidden away that is not declared?

  • Comment number 83.

    This is an evolving process and a step in the right direction to reduce the size of nuclear arsenals in the USA and Russian Federation. However, a nuclear weapon free world is still a long way off if ever achievable because of proliferation to other countries, especially N. Korea and Iran. Weapons technology may well bring about the end of nuclear weapons as new and more precise damage mechanisms are invented and developed to render nuclear weapons obsolete, but that is a long way ahead. For the time being, those States that possess nuclear weapons and a means of delivering them remain the least likely to be the victims of a nuclear attack.

  • Comment number 84.

    68. At 10:45am on 23 Dec 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    The concern should not be the U.S, Russia, china, India or Israel.

    It should be irresponsible totalitarian states with unstable rulers like: Iran North Korea and Venezuela

    ////
    Joke of the day! Take history lesson and find out what US, Russia, China and Israel did. Countries who are making most of the misery in recent history.

    What did Venezuelas unstable ruler did so wrong to compare it to above mentioned countries? Giving education and health care to poor or just because Chavez got little bit fat?

  • Comment number 85.

    Luke - Post 60. Absolutely spot on. I wondered how long it would be before someone put the crackpot right. "...set the world off its axis..." ha ha ha ha ha!

    As for those posting about Venezuela being a 'rogue state' I think you've been mugged by the xenophobic element of the American press. The reason the US government don't like Venezuela is that Chavez has realised the wealth of oil his country is sitting on can be a useful bargainning chip when dealing with the bully from the north. I stand to be corrected but I don't think there is any evidence of nuclear arms development or proliferation in Venezuela. It does sound desperately familiar - the US intimates that a militarily puny, oil-rich state has WMD.

    Back on topic - surely any US-Russia diplomacy must be a good thing regardless of how disingenuous they are being as to the total impact of the agreement?

  • Comment number 86.

    Another load of tosh they still have thousands of warheads it only takes one so what is is all about ; political rubbish as usual .

  • Comment number 87.

    17. At 11:22pm on 22 Dec 2010, DoleBoy wrote:
    //
    Since when as MAD been ever sensible, could you explain this please?
    //
    -Never said it was.

    //
    Where do you suppose the “nutcase regimes” get their tech from? Not the “sensible” countries eh?
    //

    -No, Russia and China mostly. That's why I put the blame on them.

    NK from Russia
    Iran from Pakistan, China and NK.
    Pakistan from China
    India from Russia.

    //
    In terms of putting the health of citizens first the US and UK have nothing to brag about!
    //

    -There's not much point in making sweeping statetments without backing them up with some facts.

    //
    Blame everyone else, apart from......................................!!!
    //

    -I'm putting the blame squarely where it belongs (Russia & China).

  • Comment number 88.

    The Coalition will work if left to get on with the job. It's the same old media & Press hype where isolated incidents are blown out of all proportion for the sake of an "exclusive".
    Politicians are no different to those who castigate them. Setting up someone for the sake of a story is wrong.
    I would much prefer someone to have an opinion than to say nothing.
    We're getting from Government now what we should have had years ago - a firm hand and transparency.

  • Comment number 89.

    cant we just all get along?

    i mean if we all got along i bet we would have made much better technological advances together! in space, and life!

  • Comment number 90.

    86. At 12:09pm on 23 Dec 2010, Ken B wrote:

    Another load of tosh they still have thousands of warheads it only takes one so what is is all about ; political rubbish as usual .


    only takes one to what? end a war like usa japan?

    lets not forget if it wasn't for nukes who knows how many more people would have died!

  • Comment number 91.

    Not very important at all. Primarily a symbolic agreement. MAD operates at any US:Russian nuclear stockpile level. The danger to peace comes from the growing and/or potential stockpiles of North Korea, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, China where political instability and deep seated tensions exist. At some point somebody is guaranteed to do something extremely stupid - most likely N. Korea, Pakistan or Iran. Not a case of if but when.

  • Comment number 92.

    Pointless, except maybe to save some money on expenses. If WW3 happens, it won't be between Russia/US, but some tin-pot dictatorships doing some sabre-rattling, like North/South Korea at the moment, or Iran/India/Pakistan etc.

  • Comment number 93.

    90. At 12:19pm on 23 Dec 2010, scotty1694 wrote:
    86. At 12:09pm on 23 Dec 2010, Ken B wrote:

    Another load of tosh they still have thousands of warheads it only takes one so what is is all about ; political rubbish as usual .


    only takes one to what? end a war like usa japan?

    lets not forget if it wasn't for nukes who knows how many more people would have died!


    Actually it took two to end WW2. Even then historians are divided over whether one would have done it but the Japanese were too slow to decide, whether they didn't believe the USA had more than one or whether it was the invasion of Manchuria by the USSR on or around the same day as Nagasaki that caused the Japanese to surrender.

    Since 1945, countless millions have perished in conventional wars across the globe.

  • Comment number 94.

    yes and no nukes were used scince 1945? and countless millions have died?

    and im pretty sure it was the bombs that made them surrender your talking about japan here they would rather die fighting than surrender. the ussr was irrelevant. the USA showed them the could wipe them out without having to fight them to the death.

  • Comment number 95.

    What I want to know is what kind of language is used to indicate transparency and verification. Shame on the spineless Republicans who went along so easily with this Obama feel good legislation.

  • Comment number 96.

    92. At 12:31pm on 23 Dec 2010, Graphis wrote:
    Pointless, except maybe to save some money on expenses. If WW3 happens, it won't be between Russia/US, but some tin-pot dictatorships doing some sabre-rattling, like North/South Korea at the moment, or Iran/India/Pakistan etc.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sorry to be pedantic, but how is that WORLD war 3 then?

  • Comment number 97.

    ref #70
    You really do need to make distinctions between those nations that are truly totalitarian and where its leaders have absolutely no democratic mandate (eg North Korea) and those nations where you just don't like the outcome of their democratic mandate (eg Venezuela). Iran is somewhere between the two. Does Venezuela have a nuclear weapons programme?

    ref #84
    ____________

    Hugo has entered agreement with Iran for missles aimed at the U.S supported FARC, tried to install a puppet regime in Hondures and commits human rights violations afgainst political opponents

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    //67. At 10:43am on 23 Dec 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:
    44. At 06:35am on 23 Dec 2010, r0nan42 wrote:
    You would all be driving Volkswagen's and speaking German if it wasn't for the US.

    Not really true (or rather a simplification of the facts). By the time Germany declared war on the USA (note, not the other way round) in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbour, Britain had been safe from invasion for a year (though was subject to air raids and U boat blockades) and the Wermacht had failed in its objective of taking Moscow in 1941, giving the Red Army time to rebuild itself and regroup. The eventual defeat of Germany was due to the combined efforts of the Western allies and the USSR, but the USSR would probably have defeated Germany in the East eventually. However that is speculative. What is not is that it took the combined efforts of the USA, the British Empire, Free French and the USSR to totally defeat Germany. Whether one on its own could have done so or whether all bar one could have is a debate best left to military historians.//

    Obviously this is speculative. But the main things to remember about the USSR are that

    a - it was the Third Reich's ally and ideological soulmate.

    b - the USSR only ended up at war because Hitler had worked out he couldn't beat the UK, and turned on his partners in crime, the USSR

    c - he thought the USSR was beatable, because of the way the the Red Army had been massacred when it invaded Finland.

    The Finland disaster, when the soviets managed, hilariously, to lose hundreds of thousands of troops against a tiny opponents, shows how far the USSR would have got on its own.

    It also kills the left's argument that the USSR was the hero of WW2. The liberal west was ideologically opposed to the Third Reich, the USSR was the Third Reich's ally. The west could and would have beaten the Third Reich without the USSR, but have taken longer to do it. The USSR lost to tiny Finland - there is no way it could have beaten Hitler.

  • Comment number 100.

    I think the consequences of nuclear technology will be with humanity for the rest of its days.

    The technical knowledge of how to build nukes cannot be unlearned, just as the knowledge of how to make gunpowder cannot be unlearned.

    The idea of MAD [mutually assured destruction] can never be proved or un-proved

    Consider this: If the Atom bomb had been invented at the end of the first world war, would there have been a second world war?

    Or again, if Nuclear weapons had never been invented, how long more would World War 2 have gone on for?

    Also, if nukes had not been invented, would a third world war using conventional weapons have broken out by now, after all there was only 2 decades between the ending of WW1 and the beginning of WW2.

    We know from history Nuclear weapons cannot stop conventional wars breaking out, but can the threat of MAD stop them escalating into Nuclear wars.

    The way I see it no nation is going to give up its nuclear weapons completly, because they can never be entirely certain other nations have also abandoned them, there are just too many places for ations to hide them.


    Even if nations could implicitly trust each other and give up nukes for good, what's to stop them racing to rebuild them if another major world conflict breaks out, and just like WW2 the first country to reconstitute them will use it on its enemies first before they have time to rebuild their own stockpiles, once nuclear knowledge has been gained by scientists, it can never be lost.

 

Page 1 of 4

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.