President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in Crawford Texas today, where Bush is attempting to convince Putin to allow the US to abandon the Anti-ballistic missile treaty so he can move forward with missile defense.
President Bush announced at a joint press conference Tuesday that he would cut the US nuclear arsenal by two-thirdsto around 2,000 weapons within the next decade. Bush said "I looked (Putin) in the eye and shook his hand, and if weneed to write it down on a piece of paper, I’ll be glad to do that." Russian foreign minister Ivanov said, yes,putting an agreement on nuclear weapons in writing would be nice.
Later, in remarks broadcast on Moscow television from Washington, Putin announced a similar cut in Russia’slong-range nuclear arsenal to about a third of its present size.
However, there was still no sign of the Russians agreeing to a deal that would allow the US an easy way out of the1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty so Bush can go ahead with his scheme for a missile defense.
The Bush Putin talks come as Russia and other countries in Central Asia scramble for position in determining themakeup of an interim government in Afghanistan, a process the US has said it is determined to control.
- David Kotz, Co-author of ??Revolution From Above: The Demise of the Soviet System and professor ofeconomics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.