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For its part, the United States plans to spend $355 billion upgrading and modernizing its vast nuclear arsenal over the next 10 years.All of this has serious implications for the five-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), scheduled to begin in New York in late April. The NPT has been the single most crucial factor in limiting the world's nuclear-armed states to the current nine, rather than the 20-30 widely feared a generation ago. The NPT, after all, is based on a bargain: states that do not possess nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them, in exchange for a pledge by those that do to move seriously toward eliminating their arsenals. And recent developments have once again jeopardized that bargain, with many states again asking why, if the U.S., Russia and others need nuclear weapons, they do not.
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