Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that he wanted to help avoid the nuclear apocalypse during his first phone call with President Donald Trump, and Trump reportedly fumbled it—all because he had no idea what the most important treaty between America and Russia was.
According to news reports, Putin asked if Trump was willing to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the Obama-era nuclear weapons pact that requires each nation to cap their deployed warheads at 1,500 apiece. It was a golden opportunity for Trump to gauge just how serious Putin truly was in cutting the number of warheads Russia currently has.
In October, Putin pulled out of a plutonium disposal treaty because of soured relations with Washington over economic sanctions for invading Ukraine, NATO expansion and disagreements concerning Syria. Now, Putin seemed ready to compromise on the most important treaty between the two nations. It was promising news.
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