Speech by Russian President Putin before the Representatives
of the American Public and U.S. Political Figures
It is a matter of fundamental importance that the interaction between our countries in the struggle against terrorism should not remain a mere episode in the history of Russian-American relations, but should mark the start of long-term partnership and cooperation. (...) After the Second World War the relations between our countries have had their ups and downs. But eventually the main achievement has been that our countries have stopped being afraid of each other. It has enabled us together to get rid of what for decades has stricken fear into the peoples the world over, the arsenals of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons. Their quantitative level today is totally at odds with the current situation in the world and with the character of modern threats.
I had no doubt that we would meet with understanding on the part of the United States on this issue and the statement by President Bush today confirms that fact. That is why Russia declares that it is ready to make deep cuts of strategic armaments. That is why we are proposing today a radical program of further strategic offensive arms cuts, at least by three times, to a minimum level required to maintain the strategic balance in the world. We no longer need to scare each other in order to come to terms. Security arises not from weapons and mountains of hardware, it is created by the political will of states and the leaders of these states.
Yes, the world has still a long way to go before international relations are built solely on trust. This is regrettable. But this is why it is so important today to rely on the existing foundation of treaties and agreements in the sphere of disarmament and arms control.