Verifiable reductions in Russia nuclear missile stockpiles are a large gain for American national security. In order to get Russia to agree to reductions in their nuclear stockpiles, we need to agree to reduce our own stockpiles. Reductions in U.S. stockpiles are a gain for Russian national security, but they’re not a loss to American national security. We have no intention of launching a nuclear first strike on Russia, after all, and there’s nothing we could possibly gain from doing so. But of course American political leaders don’t want to agree to mutual reductions in weapons stockpiles unless the reductions are verifiable. Even though conservatives seem, in general, to have no comprehension of national security issues whatsoever I would think they could grasp this point since “trust, but verify” is inscribed in the Little Red Book of Quotations from Ronaldus Magnus.
And, again, for us to verify Russian disarmament we need to let the Russians verify American disarmament. And, again, there’s no loss to us in the this. The United States isn’t going to secretly keep missiles on line and we’re not going to launch a nuclear war with Russia. A deal for verifiable mutual disarmament is a huge, huge win for America. But as Joe Cirincione tweets out, the right is spinning the deal as some kind of unilateral concession to Russia.