Join a Discussion With Under Secretary Tauscher on the New START Treaty

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 20, 2010
Conversations With America A Discussion on the New START Treaty

Update: We regret that due to conflicting schedules, this event has been canceled. We hope to reschedule soon and will post the new day and time when announced.

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, Ambassador Steven Pifer, Director of the Brookings Institution's Arms Control Initiative, will hold a conversation with Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher, on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and the Obama Administration's agenda in Prague. The discussion will be moderated by Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs. The event will be streamed live on DipNote at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). You will have the opportunity to participate through the submission of questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions now here on DipNote.

This is the second in the new Conversations with America video series recently launched by the Bureau of Public Affairs in which the State Department's senior leadership will hold monthly conversations live, online, with leaders of prominent non-governmental organizations. Discussion topics will include foreign policy and global issues. These forums will provide a view of how leaders from the foreign affairs community engage the Department on pressing foreign policy issues and how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

Comments

Comments

Patricia S.
|
New York, USA
May 25, 2010

Patricia S.S. in New York writes:

How might those of you who exempt yourselves from health care decisions made for we the people exempt yourselves and your children from nuclear attacks?

Julia G.
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Texas, USA
May 24, 2010

Julia G. in Texas writes:

Only someone who is ignorant of history and human nature believes we can accomplish any good by disarming and weakening our defenses.

Fred W.
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California, USA
May 24, 2010

Fred W. in California writes:

Please answer these three question:

1. Since the end of WWII, America has been the super power that has stood up for liberty and the rights of the common man -- worldwide. We have evolved now to complex defense systems to ensure we have a defensive posture that is second to none. Will this treaty prevent America from developing and implementing future advances to our defensive systmes especially in our missile defense system?

2. I understand there is language in the treay limiting America's ability to modernize its nuclear weapons systems. If this is the case, should we not ensure this language be struck from the treaty? Why would we deliberately give our enemies this advantage? If this is the case, why do we negotiate from a position of weakness?

3. Does this treaty limit our conventional weapon systems in ANY way? If so, what areas are impacted?

Thank you for responding to my questions.

Fred W.

G. B.
|
Colorado, USA
May 24, 2010

Warren B. in Colorado writes:

How would it be in the best interest of the defense of the United States to limit our missile defense capability and relinquish our right to update our offensive nuclear capability by signing the START treaty?

Robert S.
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Oklahoma, USA
May 24, 2010

Robert S. in Oklahoma writes:

Will my elected representative in the Senate have time to read this treaty and vote as I ask him to in support of the Constitution as he swore to do? Will this treaty assure the United States can continue to produce the highest capability in missile defense and use the latest technology to protect our country in accord with the government responsiblity specified in the Constitution?

jim m.
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Georgia
May 24, 2010

Jim M. in Georgia writes:

How can the U.S. enter into a START agreement with the Russians, whereby the U.S. is bound by this treaty, but the Russians can opt out at any time? full disclosure of all negotiations with the Russians should be provided to congress to allow congressman to make a informed decision on a matter important to our National Security. This is not the Health Care bill, where content was withheld until after the bill was passed.

Cindy L.
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Maryland, USA
May 24, 2010

Cindy L. in Maryland writes:

In an administration that campaigned on "transparency" in government, why is it that our Senators are being denied access to negotiating records of the START Treaty? Why are the Russians, in effect, being given veto authority over advances in America's missle defense capabilities by threatening to withdraw from the treaty?

Doug D.
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Oklahoma, USA
May 25, 2010

Doug D. in Oklahoma writes:

This treaty seems to completely undermine America's ability to protect itself while allowing Russia to dictate terms of our conventional weapons defensive capabilities. Senate voting for ratification without access to negotiating points is ludicrous and dangerous. Our nation has been weakened enough in the eyes of the world in recent years and such a treaty as this will only further lessen our defensive effectiveness.

Thanks and God bless
Doug D.

michael s.
|
Alabama, USA
May 25, 2010

Michael S. in Alabama writes:

Will we also allow Russia to be at all weapons tests now that Obama has decided to notify our adversaries in advance of our secret weapons tests?

Dan H.
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California, USA
May 25, 2010

Dan H. in California writes:

Why would you want to reduce our national strength? We're already too weak from financial and economic pressure, unemployment, inability to mechanize, let alone the fact that millions of unskilled "workers" are pouring through our borders on a daily basis.

My real question is "How can you possibly sleep at night?" Why did you sell your soul to the Devil?

Cindi O.
|
Georgia
May 25, 2010

Cindi O. in Georgia writes:

1. Can Senators have access to the negotiating records?

2. Will the treaty prevent future advances in America’s missile defense system?

3. Is the Administration committed to modernizing our nuclear weapons infrastructure?

4. Will the treaty inadvertently limit our conventional weapons capabilities?

Joe H.
|
Florida, USA
May 25, 2010

Joe H. in Florida writes:

Senators Nelson & LeMieux

In her testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 18th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “Now, some may argue that we don’t need the new START treaty. But the choice before us is between this treaty and no treaty governing our nuclear security relationship with Russia, between this treaty and no agreed verification mechanisms on Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, between this treaty and no legal obligation for Russia to maintain its strategic nuclear forces below an agreed level. And as Secretary Gates has pointed out, every previous president who faced this choice has found that the United States is better off with a treaty than without one, and the United States Senate has always agreed. The 2002 Moscow Treaty was approved by a vote of 95 to nothing. The 1991 START treaty was approved by 93 to 6.”

In these areas, Secretary Clinton’s testimony is factually incorrect on both counts. First, the Senate’s choice is not between this treaty or no treaty. The Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on Strategic Offensive Reductions of May 24, 2002 (Moscow Treaty) is in force today and will remain in force if New START is not ratified, according to its terms, until the end of calendar 2012.

Second, there has not been an unbroken record of Senate support for bilateral strategic nuclear arms control treaties with the Soviet Union or Russia. The Senate’s support for the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II) of June 18, 1979 was so tepid that President Carter, on January 3, 1980, asked it to defer consideration.

But our choice isn't between the START treaty and nothing. It should be a choice between the START treaty and something better that explicitly protects America's defense capability. Not to mention, if the new START treaty isn't ratified than the old START treaty remains in place through 2012. So the "no treaty" option isn't an option to begin with.

There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether or not the new START treaty places limitations on American missile defense capabilities. The Russians are under the impression that it does.  The treaty will only work, Russian officials argue, if the U.S. "refrains from developing its missile defense capabilities." On the contrary, the U.S. State Department insists, albeit in a watered-down version of its previous statement, that the language of the treaty "does not constrain the United States from deploying the most effective missile defense possible."

Do NOT consent to the ratification of the April 8th treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on measures for the further reduction and limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms( new START) in it’s present form.
GET IT RIGHT AND READ IT CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU SIGN IT.

Joe & Marilyn Harrill
Venice Florida
Members of the Florida 912 Group

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 25, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Saman B. in Iran,

Just saw your reply...

I could never mistake you for someone who makes excuses for your government, I've had dealings with mullah's men on a number of forums over the years and you don't qualify as an idiot, or I would have dropped a well worded nuke on you in public.

I'm glad you can make good use of the info.

I'm not sure how the Iranian government would explain what I posted away in light of the fact that Khameni says it's against Islam to have a nuclear weapon.

But hypocracy has apparently reached new levels in Iran.

I don't know who they think they are trying to fool, but I suppose they figure if they repeat the lie often enough, even they will believe it?

One thing you should understand about Americans is that what scares others simply makes us angry, and you don't want to know us when we're angry, ask the Japanese, Iraqis or the Germans, or the Taleban for that matter.

But one thing you can count on is that we don't get angry at the people those governments have used and abused, we have a tradition to uphold in liberating people from tyrany.

And making friends of former enemies.

So when it comes down to the bottom line for the "Neda's" of this world, our President said it best:

"As we experience the immediacy of the image of a suffering child or the boasts of a prideful dictator, it’s easy to give in to the belief sometimes that human progress has stalled -- that events are beyond our control, that change is not possible.

But this nation was founded upon a different notion. We believe, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” (Applause.) And that truth has bound us together, a nation populated by people from around the globe, enduring hardship and achieving greatness as one people. And that belief is as true today as it was 200 years ago. It is a belief that has been claimed by people of every race and religion in every region of the world. Can anybody doubt that this belief will be any less true -- any less powerful -- two years, two decades, or even two centuries from now?

And so a fundamental part of our strategy for our security has to be America’s support for those universal rights that formed the creed of our founding. And we will promote these values above all by living them -- through our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution, even when it’s hard; even when we’re being attacked; even when we’re in the midst of war.

And we will commit ourselves to forever pursuing a more perfect union. Together with our friends and allies, America will always seek a world that extends these rights so that when an individual is being silenced, we aim to be her voice. Where ideas are suppressed, we provide space for open debate. Where democratic institutions take hold, we add a wind at their back. When humanitarian disaster strikes, we extend a hand. Where human dignity is denied, America opposes poverty and is a source of opportunity. That is who we are. That is what we do."

President Obama, West Point, 2010

whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-united-states-military-academy-west-point-commencement

PAUL K.
|
Florida, USA
May 25, 2010

Paul K. in Florida writes:

I have serious concerns about the New START treaty. Will it reduce our ability to deploy a missile defense shield?

Bobbie W.
|
Alabama, USA
May 25, 2010

Bobbie W. in Alabama writes:

If you can't answer the following questions HONESTLY, then you need to forget the START Treaty! Are you prepared to answer these questions?

Can Senators have access to the negotiating records?

Will the treaty prevent future advances in America’s missile defense system?

Is the Administration committed to modernizing our nuclear weapons infrastructure?

Will the treaty inadvertently limit our conventional weapons capabilities?

Robert K.
|
Maryland, USA
May 25, 2010

Robert K. in Maryland writes:

At what point did the Russians become our buddies? I seem to remember a thing called the cold war. This START treaty is a step in reverse and will endanger the United States. Anit-Americanism is on the rise in Russia. American radio funding in Russia area has been cut or radio stations are sensored by the state. Anti-American news media, and movies poison the former Soviet block against us. We do nothing to improve our position, but capitulate. We abandon our allies in the region. We allow for a loophole in the treat to allow the Russians to back out at any time. (Not that the Russians have ever abided by a treaty.) I do not support your efforts to weaken what so many brave souls gave their lives to defend.

Robert S.
|
Colorado, USA
May 25, 2010

Robert S. in Colorado writes:

If the START treaty restricts our development, deployment, or testing of missile defense systems in any way it should not be ratified.

Justin R.
|
California, USA
May 25, 2010

Justin R. in California writes:

Secretary Tauscher,

I have some serious concerns about the New START treaty.

Four questions for you:

1) Can Senators have access to the negotiating records?

Last week, Secretary Clinton rejected Senator DeMint’s (R-SC) request for the negotiating records. Even though Senator Kerry (D-MA) acknowledged such a request was not unprecedented, he said there was no need for Senators to review the official negotiating records. The treaty text and Administration talking points leave many critical questions unanswered. Senators cannot be certain America’s security and sovereignty are protected unless the State Department releases the negotiating records.

2) Will the treaty prevent future advances in America’s missile defense system?

Russian politicians are characterizing the treaty’s references to America’s missile defense systems as a de facto limitation on America’s future defensive capabilities. Russian President Medvedev indicated that future advances in America’s missile defense capabilities could prompt them to withdraw from the treaty. In effect, the Russians now have veto authority over America’s national security policy.

3) Is the Administration committed to modernizing our nuclear weapons infrastructure?

Last year, 41 Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the President demanding a roadmap for modernizing America’s nuclear weapons infrastructure as a prerequisite to consideration of the New START treaty. The Administration must present a serious plan that can win approval from Congress and address concerning language embedded in the treaty that may prevent some modernization activities.

and 4) Will the treaty inadvertently limit our conventional weapons capabilities?

The State Department has released numerous “fact sheets” on the New START treaty. In one, they claimed the treaty does not curtail any “long-range conventional strike capabilities.” Yet, a subsequent version of that “fact sheet” did not mention such capabilities and it deleted references to the “construction of silo launchers.” The uncertainty over the future of our conventional force capabilities is likely to make us less secure.

ron m.
|
United States
May 25, 2010

Ron in Michigan writes:

Dear Ms Tauscher:

Considering the minor point that the Senate ratifies treaties how is it proper that negotiating records will not be provided those members who will vote upon the START Treaty. I gather that content and context are no longer germane to the decision process...somewhat paralleling the so called Health Care bill !!

Shirley P.
|
Indiana, USA
May 25, 2010

Shirley P. in Indiana writes:

I want to know how this is eventually going to affect our 2nd ammendment rights to bear arms. Our government is in the habit of attaching and creatively changing bills like this one.

Philip N.
|
Virginia, USA
May 25, 2010

Philip N. in Virginia writes:

1.) Will the Sate Departmentment release the full negotiation records to the Senate as Sen. Demint has requested? This should be a minimum condition to consider anything related to this treaty. With zero progress on the Iran & North Korea issues, nothing to show for previous unilateral concessions to the Russian [who now seem to have a free hand in Georgia as well], events in the Middle East moving counter to our interests as Syria affirmed just today, why on earth would a real American trust this feckless and incompetant administration?

2.) Is the administration committed to modernizing and upgrading the U.S.A's nuclear forces without which there can be no 'safe and effective nuclear deterrent'? This is essential and the Russian's and all nations must understand that no limitation on this condition is acceptable - ever. It is delusional beyond expression to imagine the nuclear genie simply disappearing. Anyone at eitehr the White House or the State Dept. who shares this dangerous delusion should be moved to St. Elizabeth's.

3.) The Russian's clearly believe the treaty will limit our anti-missile defense capabilities yet the Administration represents this otherwise. Is this because the Obama administration is not now - nor has it ever been - committed to effective missle defense systems for the U.S.? That is what I suspect and it is not acceptable. The
Adminstration must provide detailed, credible and public statements that fully and acceptab ly address these concerns to the American people and the Senate.

4.) Are there any limitations on our U.S. long-range conventional strike capabilities?

Conflicting "fact sheets" are already in evidence publicly. These questions must be addressed clearly, directly,and acceptably. The more nuclear forces are limited, the greater the importance of conventional capabilities.

At this point it is not at all clear that this treaty, in its present form, serves the security interests of the U.S.A. - quite the contrary there are major questions to addressed and concerns which must be allayed for the treaty to be acceptable. We The People respectfully insist upon this.

Carol P.
|
Minnesota, USA
May 25, 2010

Carol P. in Minnesota writes:

President Obama began his term by mirandizing terrorists and wanting to try them in NYC near Ground Zero. He refuses to secure our borders against terror and illegal aliens. Now he wants to tear down our missle defense system and be best buddies with Russia and the like. He is setting us up for disaster and the eventual destruction of this proud and just nation. My question is WHY?

Jason K.
|
Tennessee, USA
May 25, 2010

Jason K. writes:

Will the treaty prevent future advances in America’s missile defense system?

Roy D.
|
California, USA
May 25, 2010

Roy D. in California writes:

Does the START treaty limit the U.S. in its anti-missiel protection to no more than what we have already accomplished as the Russians claim, or do we have the the unlimited ability to advance our present anti-missiel technology as was first reported?

This is a very easy question which would be quickly answered if all members of the Senators had access to the negotiating records of the new START treaty.

If the negotiating records show that we would be limited to only what the United States have presently accomplished in missile defense, the Senate must NOT consent to the passage of the new START treaty.

If the negotiating records are not available to all members of the Senate, the Senate must NOT consent to the START treaty passage.

It is absolutely asinine not to release the negotiating records to he Senate for a president that campaigned for an open administration.

vincent d.
|
Arizona, USA
May 25, 2010

Vincent D. in Arizona writes:

I have serious reservations about the new start treaty. It seems like we are weaking ourselves. Why would we do such a thing when peace through strength is the only proven way to go. Please bring in some people who know what is really going on and have them do these negotiations. This is scary and dangerous to be signing a treaty that obviously weakens America.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 25, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I'm wondering how this treaty will impact the NATO strategic review upcoming in November.

And what are the implications for that review if it isn't ratified jointly by that time?

Thanks for taking the queestion.

John T.
|
Arizona, USA
May 25, 2010

John R. T. in Arizona writes:

I would like to know if it is the intention of this administration to leave the United States defenseless and open to take over from our enemies/BO's friends.

Terry C.
|
Florida, USA
May 25, 2010

Terry C. in Florida writes:

Will the treaty limit our ability to upgrade our missle defense system?

Jeanne M.
|
Pennsylvania, USA
May 25, 2010

Jeanne V.M. in Pennsylvania writes:

I believe we must have a strong defense in order to keep our country free and safe from attack. There should be no shame in defending ourselves. We cannot do any good for anyone if we are not free.

Jim B.
|
Texas, USA
May 25, 2010

Jim B. in Texas writes:

For such a critical treaty we must have all information on the table. The detailed negotiating reports must be available to all senators for evaluation.

In addition, no hinderance to our ongoing anti-missle defense development should be agreed to. We cannot leave ourselves vulnerable to future attacks from rogue countries like Iran or N Korea just so we can get an agreement with the Russians.

Current START agreements will be in place for about 2 more years. We should take our time and not rush into a new agreement without fully studying its implications.

Sincerely,
Jim B.

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