Who is Outrider?

Outrider believes that the global challenges we face together must be solved by working together.

Among the greatest threats to the future of humankind are nuclear weapons and global climate change. Outrider makes the bold claim that both threats can be overcome — and not just by policy makers but by people with the right tools and inspiration.

Chapter 3

Nuclear History: The Current Era

Steps toward—and from—disarmament

DECEMBER 25, 1991

The Soviet Union dissolves

Treaties from 1991 to the Present Day

JULY 31, 1991

The United States and U.S.S.R sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), a milestone reduction of U.S. and Russian/Soviet strategic nuclear stockpiles.

JANUARY 3, 1993

START II, a complement to START I, is signed, imposing a limit on strategic nuclear weapons with the goal of further reducing stockpiles. It never goes into effect.

MAY 24, 2002

The United States and Russia sign the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, which requires both states to reduce their deployed nuclear weapons to 1,700-2,200.

APRIL 10, 2010

 New START restricts the United States and Russia to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads apiece. The treaty is still in effect and expires in 2021.

FEBRUARY 2018

Deadline for the United States and Russia to meet the New START requirements. As yet, there are no plans to extend New START or negotiate a follow-on treaty.

1991–1996

The U.S. and Russia collaborate to recover Soviet weapons

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, four ex-Soviet states were left in possession of nuclear weapons. The United States worked with Russia to recover—and dismantle—these weapons, ensuring that Russia was the only nuclear successor to the U.S.S.R.

JULY 31, 1991

Presidents Bush and Gorbachev sign START I in Moscow

AQ Khan

Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan provided information on nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.

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1998

Nuclear standoff between Pakistan and India

The root of the crisis was a dispute over Kashmir, a region that both nations claim as their own.

MARCH 12, 1999

NATO’s post-Soviet expansion

Ex-Soviet nations began to join NATO, an alliance formed to keep Soviet ambitions in check. Russia protested the move, claiming that “the near abroad”—their former territories—shouldn’t act against Russian interests.

U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration decided to build a nationwide missile defense system. To do so, they had to withdraw from the 30 year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty with Russia. Russia viewed the move as a threat to their security.
JUNE 13, 2002

U.S. withdraws from the ABM Treaty

U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration decided to build a nationwide missile defense system. To do so, they had to withdraw from the 30 year-old Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty with Russia. Russia viewed the move as a threat to their security. 

An image of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin.
JUNE 14, 2002

Russia Withdraws from START II

The day after the United States withdrew from the ABM treaty, Russia responded in kind by dissolving START II, calling it “meaningless.” The treaty would never go into effect. 

An older Kim Jong Il stands in front of older crowd of military men covered in large medals. Kim Jong Il looks passive, and raises his right hand.
OCTOBER 9, 2006

North Korea’s First Nuclear Test

An explosion the equivalent of less than 1,000 tons of TNT was detonated in North Korea. The U.S. viewed it as a failure: the Hiroshima bomb’s explosion 60 years previous was at least 15 times more powerful. 

Nuclear Security Summits

APRIL 12-13, 2010

Concerned about the threat of nuclear terrorism, U.S. President Barack Obama convenes the first Nuclear Security Summit with leaders from 47 countries.

MARCH 26-27, 2012

Fifty-three countries and four international organizations attend the second Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

MARCH 24-25, 2014

At the third summit, in The Hauge, Netherlands, attending countries fail to meet a self-imposed deadline of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials in 4 years.

MARCH 2016

Russia declines to attend the final Nuclear Security Summit in 2016 as retaliation for sanctions imposed after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

The U.N. Nuclear Ban Treaty

Two-thirds of U.N. member states sign an agreement to make developing, testing, manufacturing, or possessing nuclear weapons illegal.

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MARCH 28, 2017

Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow testifies at the U.N.

Accidents, Errors, and Explosions

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