For the first time in a while, it looks like we (Russia & US) might be making solid strides in nuclear weapons reductions. While this is not yet the solid work I would like to see, it is a crucial step forward, hopefully with hard eliminations targets at the end.
Hard eliminations targets means the physical destruction and reduction of warheads, both active and reserve. The SORT agreement, under Presidents Bush and Putin, reduced the deployed warheads but did not necessarily provide for their elimination. This is a key difference, for a stored warhead can be relatively easily returned to active status. They are essentially mothballed but not destroyed.
Another interesting point with the agreement between Presidents Obama and Medvedev is reducing the number of delivery systems for long-range purposes. It will be interesting to see what comes out in hard terms at the final conference and treaty.
* The newer agreement lists “long range” without strictly defining, so this number might ultimately vary by comparison to older agreements, once the new agreement is finalized.
There has also been a general warming of relations between the US and Russia, even if things remain a bit chilly. Hopefully the continuing talks on nuclear issues and areas of common interest, such as Afghanistan, and climate change will help further the warming of relations between the US and Russia.