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The two leaders most responsible for bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end were U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev. They also kick-started the dramatic reductions in nuclear arsenals with a mix of unilateral measures and bilateral agreements. The driving force behind this was acceptance of Reagan’s affirmation in his State of the Union address on Jan. 25, 1984, that “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Now their successors, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, seem determined to resurrect the Cold War rivalry, restart a nuclear arms race, and look for technological breakthroughs and doctrinal justifications for “usable” nuclear weapons.

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