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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

What We'd Like to See at Summit

Nine years ago, U.S. President George W. Bush's father and President Vladimir Putin's predecessor held a summit in Moscow where they signed a much heralded arms control treaty to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads on each side. The treaty was START II and, although it was never implemented, it was seen as important for reducing residual Cold War tensions and lowering the risk of nuclear war.

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On Friday, Bush and Putin will sign a new treaty that slashes the number of warheads even further. It also is being heralded as a landmark treaty, although we all know it's not. It will, however, be implemented, because it allows both countries to do what they wanted to do anyway. Russia will cut its arsenal below 2,200 warheads because it cannot afford to keep any more operational anyway; the United States will cut its arsenal too, but because it will be allowed to keep its warheads in storage.

The treaty, which has been billed as the final nail in the coffin of the Cold War, is a nice political gesture, but it would be a shame if it was the best thing to come out of the summit.

On the strategic front, the more pressing issue is the dispute over Russia's cooperation with Iran. Washington is convinced Moscow is helping Tehran develop nuclear weapons. Frank and detailed discussions could go a long way, as could discussions on ways to stop global proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction.

We also would like to see Bush do more to challenge Putin's claims that he is doing his bit in the fight against international terrorism by waging war in Chechnya and tell him that Russia is only exacerbating the problem by allowing human rights abuses there to continue unabated. We're not holding our breath.

Our best hope for the summit is for Washington at last to grant Russia market-economy status. This is within the power of the U.S. Commerce Department, and the commerce secretary arrived in Russia ahead of Bush, so it seems entirely likely.

Unlike the arms treaty, this would be big news. It would not only strengthen economic ties with the United States but support Putin's efforts to integrate the country into the world economy.

Repealing the antiquated Jackson-Vanik amendment also is long overdue. This decision is in the hands of Congress, but Bush could push the process along.

Finally, we hope the summit gives Bush a deeper understanding of Russia and the man he reportedly has nicknamed "Pootie-Poot."