Nuclear Weapons

New START treaty submitted to the Senate

Today, President Obama officially submitted the New START treaty to reduce US and Russian nuclear weapons arsenals to the US Senate. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will begin hearings on the treaty next week. Sen. Kerry issued this press release today in response:

Ratifying New START is an essential step toward making America safer.

This treaty will maintain our flexibility to protect our national security interests and restore hard-won visibility into the strategic nuclear forces of Russia’s still formidable arsenal. It will also strengthen the global coalition against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and thereby reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.

The New START Treaty is the latest in a line of strategic arms reduction accords, often negotiated by Republican presidents, and supported overwhelmingly by Republican and Democratic senators alike.

As President Reagan said in 1981, ‘Our nation has been committed on a bipartisan basis to preventing the spread of nuclear explosives from the birth of the atomic age over 35 years ago.’ We must uphold America’s longstanding record of leadership on this vital issue.

The Senate will give New START the full and careful consideration it deserves. I am confident that once the treaty has been thoroughly vetted, we will emerge with bipartisan consensus.

Sen. Kerry wasn’t the only one speaking out in favor of ratifying New START. Secretary of Defense Gates had his own OpEd in the Wall Street Journal today on why the Senate should ratify New START:

The New START Treaty has the unanimous support of America’s military leadership—to include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of the service chiefs, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, the organization responsible for our strategic nuclear deterrent. For nearly 40 years, treaties to limit or reduce nuclear weapons have been approved by the U.S. Senate by strong bipartisan majorities. This treaty deserves a similar reception and result—on account of the dangerous weapons it reduces, the critical defense capabilities it preserves, the strategic stability it maintains, and, above all, the security it provides to the American people.

Treaties must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators. Given today’s partisan climate, that is challenging, but not out of reach. Stay tuned for an update from me next week about contacting your senators as part of a national “Week of Action” in support of the New START treaty and nuclear weapons reductions. This treaty is an important first step forward in reducing the nuclear weapons threat posed by the more than 23,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Ratifying this treaty would pave the way for future action toward a nuclear weapons free world, like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and much deeper reductions to our stockpile.

2 replies »

  1. NewSTART might be a step forward, but not an import one from my point of view. The nuclear arsenal will be reduced, but noch radically. And what’s about Obama’s vision of a nuclear weapon free world? Doesn’t he give away his one vision through maintaining a number of (limited) nuclear weapons as legal in this bilateral treaty? James Goodbey gives an interesting lecture on this. Check ou: http://bit.ly/bQLIjQ!

  2. Hi Marie. Thanks for the comment. I would say that New START is a modest step forward, but where Obama is really undermining his vision is in huge funding increases for the nuclear weapons complex so that the US will be able to produce nuclear weapons, and more of them, far into the future.

    You might be interested in reading the post I wrote today on the nuclear weapons funding:
    https://blog.peaceactionwest.org/2010/05/28/soaring-cost-of-nuclear-weapons-to-be-180-billion-or-more-over-next-decade/