News Release

* NATO * Trump-Putin — Reagan: “Why Wait to Eliminate all Nuclear Weapons?”


Presidents Trump and Putin are scheduled to meet in Helsinki on Monday.

MICHAEL KLARE, mklare at @mklare1
Klare is senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources. He just wrote the piece “What Trump’s Critics Are Missing About the NATO Summit” for The Nation. The editor and publisher of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, was just on “Democracy Now” on NATO and avoiding a ruinous policy toward Russia.

Reuters reports in “Trump says ‘ultimate deal’ with Putin would be world without nuclear weapons” that: “Asked what would be the best possible result from his meeting with Putin, Trump said: ‘What would be the ultimate? Let’s see. No more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, no more wars, no more problems, no more conflicts. … That would be my ultimate.'”

DAVID CORTRIGHT, David.B.Cortright.1 at
Cortright is director of policy studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He said today: “If Trump is serious about an ‘ultimate deal’ with Putin to get rid of nuclear weapons, he should come to Helsinki with an offer to cut U.S. nuclear weapons in half immediately and call Putin’s bluff. He could dust off the formula for the elimination of all nuclear weapons that Reagan and Gorbachev almost concluded at Reykjavik in October 1986. To show he’s serious Trump should suspend the current so-called ‘modernization’ of U.S. nuclear systems, following the model of the suspension of military exercises he ordered for U.S. troops in South Korea in his summit with Kim Jong-un.”

ALICE SLATER, alicejslater at
Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War. She recently wrote “Watch Out World: Peace May be Breaking Out,” which states that the “new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons celebrated its first birthday on July 7 when 122 nations voted a year ago in the UN General Assembly to ban the bomb, just as we have banned biological and chemical weapons. The new ban treaty shattered the establishment consensus that the proper way to avoid nuclear catastrophe was to follow the endless step by step path of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, now 50 years old this month, which has only led to nuclear weapons forever.” Last year, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the effort has been opposed by both the U.S. and Russian governments. Also see: “McNamara: U.S. a Violator of Proliferation Treaty.”

SVETLANA SAVRANSKAYA, THOMAS BLANTON, via Lauren Harper, leharper at, @NSArchive
Savranskaya and Blanton are with the National Security Archive and have worked on declassified documents on a wide variety of security issues. See their “Gorbachev’s Nuclear Initiative of January 1986 and the Road to Reykjavik,” which notes: “Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s radical proposal in January 1986 to abolish nuclear weapons by the year 2000 met with derision on the part of many U.S. officials, who treated it as pure propaganda, but was welcomed by President Reagan. ….

“According to senior advisor Paul Nitze, Reagan’s first reaction to the Gorbachev letter after Nitze and [Secretary of State George] Shultz briefed him was, ‘Why wait until the year 2000 to eliminate all nuclear weapons?’ At the same time, Reagan remarked again and again on the fact that Gorbachev had set an actual date, which made the proposal sound more realistic. …

“There was a considerable difference of opinion within the administration: from Shultz arguing for engaging Gorbachev and his program, to [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger claiming that it was just an effort to ‘divert energy’ and to kill SDI. Shultz devotes several pages of his memoir to the internal debates. His account describes Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle as the most hard-line opponent: ‘Perle declared to the Senior Arms Control Group in mid-January that the president’s dream of a world without nuclear weapons — which Gorbachev had picked up — was a disaster, a total delusion.’ According to Shultz, Perle opposed even holding an NSC discussion of how to respond to Gorbachev ‘because then the president would direct his arms controllers to come up with a program to achieve that result.'”