How encouraged should we be by a treaty negotiated by envoys for President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that is supposed to lower the limit on deployed strategic weapons by more than 25 percent and launchers by 50 percent ("U.S., Russia agree to slash nuclear arms," March 25)? One should not conclude that actions taken by the Obama administration have reduced the risk of nuclear war. In negotiating or purchasing the agreement of countries that border Russia, the United States has declared its intention to "ring" Russia with U.S. missile bases. Russian leaders have responded by announcing a new Russian war doctrine allowing for a preemptive launch of nuclear weapons. Are the United States and Russia now both considering a nuclear first strike? All of this is quite different from what Obama said he envisioned when he spoke in The Hague last spring. Is the Cold War really over? JOHN SIMCOX, MINNEAPOLIS