When I began writing this book in 1995, I was opti
mistic that the nuclear arms race was winding down.
The Cold War was over. Eight years had passed since
the administration of President Ronald Reagan had
concluded the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces
(INF) Treaty, which eliminated, for the first time, a
whole class of nuclear weapons. By 1993, Reagan's suc
cessor, George Bush, had completed the negotiation of
two Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START I and
START II), which together would bring about massive
reductions in the strategic nuclear arsenals of the two
former adversaries. In START II, the two sides would
lower their total nuclear warheads to between 3,800
and 4,250 warheads by the year 2000, and to between
3,000 and 3,500 warheads by the year 2003. The accord
would reduce the number of strategic weapons held by
both sides to a quarter of the amount they had
deployed in 1990, and to the lowest levels since 1969.
In 1995, a new administration had been in office for two years, that of William Jefferson Clinton, which was openly committed not only to reversing the "vertical" proliferation of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons through the START process, but also to halting the "horizontal" spread of nuclear
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Publication information: Book title: Return to Armageddon:The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1981-1999. Contributors: Ronald E. Powaski - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 2000. Page number: ix.