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Unlike Obama, Putin Has No Interest In Cutting His Arms Supply

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Simon Shuster | Time

On Friday evening, at the end of the final nuclear security summit of his tenure, President Barack Obama took a swipe at his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for standing in the way of nuclear disarmament. Obama’s remark was pointed, calling out Putin by name, and it cast a rare bit of light on the personal clash between the two presidents on an issue that both of them see as central to their legacies.

“Because of the vision that he’s been pursuing of emphasizing military might,” Obama told reporters at the summit, “we have not seen the type of progress that I would have hoped for with Russia.”

This was putting it lightly. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, Russia has managed to negotiate deep cuts to the U.S. arsenal while substantially strengthening of its own. It has allegedly violated the treaty that limits the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe and, in the last few years, it has brought disarmament talks with the U.S. to a complete standstill for the first time since the 1960s. In its rhetoric, Moscow has also returned to a habit of nuclear threats, while in its military exercises, it has begun to practice for a nuclear strike, according to the NATO military alliance.

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