"Confronted by a daunting array of nuclear threats, and having pledged to reinvigorate the application of disarmament tools to address these dangers, the Obama administration has decided to focus its initial efforts on negotiating a new bilateral agreement with Russia to replace the Cold War--era Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires at the end of this year. [...] The analysis deduces that a positive outcome would provide modest ancillary benefits for several higher priority objectives--for example, incentivizing China to participate in a wider follow-on strategic nuclear arms reduction process, or bringing greater international pressure to bear on nuclear proliferators such as Iran. However, these spinoff benefits would not be sufficient to warrant high costs in terms of major concessions of U.S. strategic interests relative to Russia. Any such costs could only be justified by the inclusion of favorable external linkages, meaning explicit Russian offsets to address higher priority nuclear dangers in return for concessions favoring Moscow's strategic interests. The Obama administration will therefore need to carefully weigh this overarching cost-benefit equation as it navigates the complexities of the first major strategic arms control talks in almost a decade."
Strategic Forum (July 2009), no.244
Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction: http://www.ndu.edu/wmdcenter/