Brothers in Arms?

Why Trump Should Push Putin to Revive Arms Control

Putin and Trump as Russian Matryoshka dolls, Helsinki, July 2018  Lehtikuva Lehtikuva/REUTERS

Ask most commentators and you’ll hear that next week’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki is doomed to failure. The United States and Russia share few regional or global interests and have clashed over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Any lasting grand bargains are unlikely and probably unwise, as some fear that Putin’s KGB-honed negotiating skills—and Trump’s oft stated desire to get along with his Russian counterpart—will lead the U.S. president to give away too much for too little in return.

These doubts notwithstanding, the summit presents a real opportunity for the two leaders to tackle the issue of arms control, an area where sunset clauses and mutual distrust threaten to unravel past achievements. By agreeing to resume expert dialogue on nuclear arsenals and cross-military cooperation, Trump and Putin could

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