Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki to help with reduction of nuclear danger

14 July

Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki to help with reduction of nuclear danger

Summit talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki next week will provide for a significant achievement in the reduction of the global nuclear danger, according to US experts.

Former US Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz and former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, who are co-chairmen of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, wrote in their opinion column on the website of The Hill newspaper that "The United States and Russia possess more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, each posing an existential threat to the other."

"Outdated Cold War nuclear postures, new cyber dangers and the spread of nuclear knowledge and technology, make it imperative that our leaders work together to prevent a nuclear blunder, with the Helsinki summit being an essential step to restarting nuclear risk reduction efforts," an article from the experts said.

According to the experts, despite a number of differences "Dialogue, however, must also be grounded in a basic truth: that Washington and Moscow have a common existential interest in preventing the use of nuclear weapons."

"While we must address our serious differences, it is imperative that we cooperate on these vital matters," the article reads.

"Without even informal understandings regarding the danger of cyber interference in command and control and early warning systems, we risk blundering into a nuclear exchange," according to Moniz and Nunn.

"Our leaders have only minutes to make decisions about nuclear use upon notice of a nuclear attack," the experts said. "We must find ways to increase decision time for leaders to respond to what may be a false warning."

The experts recalled that with numerous differences during the Cold War both Moscow and Washington always negotiated on the matter of reducing the nuclear arms threat.

"Democrats and Republicans understood the need for cooperative engagement to keep Americans safe throughout the Cold War, when Washington and Moscow engaged in a deep ideological struggle, often playing out in hot spots around the world," they said.

"Even then, negotiators met regularly in Geneva, Vienna, and New York, and our military commanders spoke with their counterparts in Moscow," according to the article. "There was an understanding that we have a mutual obligation to prevent nuclear disasters.’

Presidents of Russia and the United States are scheduled for their first summit meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki next Monday, July 16. The leaders were reported to be accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as well as various experts.



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