President Trump apparently has “no specific agenda” for his first in-person meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, slated to occur this week on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany. So we’d like to suggest one: stabilizing the increasingly troubled relationship between the world’s two largest nuclear powers, beginning by extending the landmark New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have worsened over the past few years, thanks to Moscow’s election interference, annexation of Crimea, continued destabilization of Ukraine, and support for the Assad regime in Syria. Nevertheless, the two countries continue to share common interests. In particular, as the possessors of over 90 percent of the roughly 15,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, they have a special responsibility to avoid direct conflict and reduce nuclear risks. The downward spiral in relations makes these objectives all the more urgent.