Brief History: Arms-Control Agreements

Scott Stewart / AP

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan sit down together inside the Hofdi in Reykjavik, Iceland on Saturday, Oct. 11, 1986 at the start of a series of talks on arms control.

On march 26, President Obama announced that the U.S. and Russia will cut their deployed long-range nuclear arsenals by 30% over seven years. The START Follow-On Treaty, as it is known, is the descendant of a series of Cold War arms-control agreements that had an unlikely progenitor: the spectacular failure of the most ambitious disarmament program ever conceived. The Versailles Treaty of 1919, which was designed to disarm Germany but which failed to prevent World War II, led to a more sober approach to arms control predicated on the belief that conflict is inevitable and a balance of power is the...

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