A Major Sticking Point

Bonn's missiles stall a pact

In a world groaning under the weight of more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, who would have thought the most promising attempt to sharply cut that frightening number could be stalled by a dispute over 72 aging missiles? Such a disagreement has emerged as a major obstacle to a U.S.-Soviet accord on intermediate nuclear forces (INF) that would ban medium- and shorter-range missiles in both Asia and Europe.

After a flurry of diplomacy in the past two weeks, Moscow and Washington seemed on the brink of an agreement based on the so-called global double-zero concept. But the talks have bogged down over...