The two presidents issued a "joint understanding" that commits the two countries to reducing strategic warheads to a range of 1,500 to 1,675 – down from the current ceiling of 2,200 – and to a maximum of 1,600 launch vehicles. The goal is to reach an agreement in time to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires on Dec. 5.
Arms-control analysts who support Obama's determination to conclude a new START agreement say that the stated reductions are significant because they are realistic enough to receive the legislative-branch ratification required in both countries, yet ambitious enough to act as a first step toward Obama's vision of a world eventually free of nuclear arsenals.
ABC's Whitehouse Correspondant Jake Tapper talked to the President about the economy, Iran, nuclear nonproliferation, and (of course) MJ:
“You know, this is part of American culture,” the president said. “Michael Jackson, like Elvis, like Sinatra, when somebody whose captivated the imagination of the country for that long passes away, people pay attention. And I assume at some point people will start focusing again on things like nuclear weapons.”