Op-Ed: Why the Senate Should Ratify New START

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 15, 2010
Presidents Obama and Medvedev Sign New START Treaty in Prague

In an Op-Ed published today in the Washington Post, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates call on the Senate to ratify the New START. The full text of their Op-Ed follows:

Why the Senate Should Ratify New START By Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert M. Gates

For decades, American inspectors have monitored Russian nuclear forces, putting into practice President Ronald Reagan's favorite maxim, "Trust, but verify." But since the old START Treaty expired last December, we have relied on trust alone. Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspectors will not have access to Russian missile silos and the world's two largest nuclear arsenals will lack the stability that comes with a rigorous inspection regime.

Before this session of Congress ends, we urge senators to approve an arms control treaty that would again allow U.S. inspectors access to Russian strategic sites and reduce the number of nuclear weapons held by both nations to a level not seen since the 1950s.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, builds on foundations laid by American leaders from both political parties over the past four decades. It has broad bipartisan backing. Six former secretaries of state, five former secretaries of defense and three former national security advisers have endorsed ratification, along with seven former commanders of U.S. Strategic Command and the entire current U.S. military leadership. They understand that nuclear dangers did not disappear with the Soviet Union and that we have a responsibility -- to Americans and our allies -- to keep our eyes on the world's other major strategic nuclear arsenal.

Time is running out for this Congress. Here is what's at stake:

New START will advance critical national security objectives: Reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons while retaining a safe and effective deterrent; providing direct insight into Russia's nuclear arsenal; and creating a more stable, predictable and cooperative relationship between the world's two leading nuclear powers.

It will put in place an effective verification regime to track each side's progress in reducing its arsenal to 1,550 strategic warheads. We will be able to count the number of deployed strategic weapons more accurately, because we will exchange more data on weapons and their movement than in the past. We will also conduct 18 short-notice inspections of Russian nuclear forces each year, including checking warheads on individual missiles.

New START will also set the stage for future arms reductions, including negotiations on tactical nuclear weapons. It will help solidify the "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia, which has allowed us to cooperate in pursuit of our strategic interests.

That's what the treaty will do. Here's what it will not do:

It will not limit our ability to develop and deploy the most effective missile defenses to protect America's forces and territory, and to enhance the security of our allies and partners. This administration is committed to sustaining and improving our missile defense capabilities and has proposed spending nearly $10 billion in fiscal 2011 to do so.

It will not restrict our ability to modernize our nuclear forces. On the contrary, the United States will continue to maintain a robust nuclear deterrent based on our "triad" of delivery systems: intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers for nuclear armaments. To sustain and modernize these systems, the administration has proposed spending well over $100 billion during the next decade.

Furthermore, the treaty permits us to make investments as needed to maintain a secure and effective nuclear stockpile. The administration has proposed spending $7 billion for this purpose in the current fiscal year -- a nearly 10 percent increase -- and more than $80 billion to modernize our nuclear weapons complex over the next decade, including a major life-extension program for current warheads. In all, the administration proposes spending more than $180 billion on the infrastructure that sustains our nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them -- a substantial investment in the credibility and efficacy of America's nuclear deterrent.

Finally, New START will not constrain our ability to develop and deploy the most effective conventional capabilities possible, including strike systems that could potentially hit a target anywhere on the globe in less than an hour.

Every president since the beginning of the Cold War has opted for verifiable arms control deals. Each time, the Senate has backed these treaties by overwhelming margins. The START Treaty, negotiated by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, was approved in 1992 by 93 votes to 6. The Moscow Treaty, negotiated by President George W. Bush, was approved 95 to 0 in 2003.

The New START Treaty also deserves prompt ratification. Our national security depends on it.

You can learn more about New START here.



Ogoubi w.
November 16, 2010

Ogoubi K.W. in Togo writes:

The new start'll it go us a global and detailed view on everything about security?

New Mexico, USA
November 17, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

To; President Obama, all the Members of the Senate, Sec. of State Clinton, Sec. of Defense Gates, and all the good folks otherwise known as the "powers that be" by the little guy...that's me...the citizen....otherwise known as the constituant....c/o Dipnote,

If I were standing in the Senate, and had my voice heard on the floor today, I'd be asking Senator Kyle if his partisan delay of a vote to ratify based on tying this treaty to facility upgrades in national laboratories wasn't in fact directly in violation of Article 1. (see text below)

For how else to safeguard against the risk of accidents and ineptness unless folks are in place to verify what the hell is going on?

Folks want to upgrade? Fine, that's another 14 bil. down the rabbit hole that could otherwise be spent recovering this economy today or reducing debt. Reliability testing is an issue? We ended a war with weapons never even dropped out of an airplane before and one design dropped on Hiroshima had never been tested at all, so who do you think you're kidding Senators?

Not me, that's a matter of family history.

But where it concerns the peace of nations, nuclear disarmament and treaties, don't even dare to play partisan games with the American people's safety. "And the Russians love their children too."- Sting

Something both the Sec. of State and Defense might consider here is that it has been almost as long from the start of this New Start treaty negotiations till now; as it was to build the very first atomic bombs in 27 months back in WW2.

I therefore invite Senator Kyle to respectfully get a grip...Now! Don't delay the debate or vote out of partisan self interest.

Every member of the Senate is welcome to quote me in telling him this, including the newcomers just elected to office...and if folks won't ratify this, you'all in the Senate voting "Nay" should simply resign the next day for your failure to serve the public interest.

Just git 'er done! I'm tired of the excuses.



Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War Between The United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Signed at Washington September 30, 1971
Entered into force September 30, 1971

The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties:

Taking into account the devastating consequences that nuclear war would have for all mankind, and recognizing the need to exert every effort to avert the risk of outbreak of such a war, including measures to guard against accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons,

Believing that agreement on measures for reducing the risk of outbreak of nuclear war serves the interests of strengthening international peace and security, and is in no way contrary to the interests of any other country,

Bearing in mind that continued efforts are also needed in the future to seek ways of reducing the risk of outbreak of nuclear war,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1
Each Party undertakes to maintain and to improve, as it deems necessary, its existing organizational and technical arrangements to guard against the accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under its control.


Article 8
This Agreement shall be of unlimited duration.

District Of Columbia, USA
November 22, 2010

Kristen C. in Washington DC writes:

While the reduction of Nuclear arsenals will be beneficial for both the United States and Russia, we cannot lose the strong expectation of responsibility that we have maintained throughout the last 60 years.
It is in our best interest to inspect the weapons that Russia maintains, as well as the security of these weapons. We cannot let up by allowing these weapons to get in the possession of those that are not deemed responsible. The transfer of these weapons would be irresponsible on our part, and our safety can only be ensured when we monitor their location.
While we are reliant on our own “triad” of artillery, we can only maintain the same safety standards for ourselves that we do for our partners.
By ratifying the New START treaty we will ensure the security of our nation and improve the standards of those around the world. I support and encourage Senator Lugar to continue his efforts to reduce nuclear arms. I also thank him for his contribution to this issue throughout the years.


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