The first summit between President Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev is only days away and so far there has only been perfunctory mention of this in the media. Odd, not to say irresponsible.
If played right this could be the most important summit since presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush, having torn down the Iron Curtain, decided that they had enough confidence in the other side to introduce unilateral nuclear arms cuts, a valuable ancillary to what they formally agreed.
In the opinion of Georgi Arbatov, Gorbachev’s (and before that Brezhnev’s) foreign affairs advisor, the time is overdue for more unilateral cuts. “Being honest”, he told me two summers’ ago, “we in Russia are not right in our approach. We have so many weapons we could decrease the numbers unilaterally and set an example. We could dismantle our rockets, take others off alert, and the Americans would be obliged to follow us.”
When I recently asked one of Medvedev’s advisors, Igor Yurgens, what the “re-set” button statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meant, he replied “the tone is different”. He then added, somewhat amusingly , “We have a new generation- Obama and Medvedev. Since they ar…