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What Would Be the Effect of the New START?

The United States and Russia recently signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). While President Obama has declared that the New START treaty is a key step to achieving a world without nuclear weapons, it could well accomplish the opposite.

Problems with the Treaty:

  • The treaty could set the stage for a new nuclear arms race while justifying further undermining the credibility of the US nuclear deterrent. Ratifying this treaty could put US vital national interests at risk.
  • The New START is not acceptable. It is a step backwards—cutting less weapons and providing less verification than would have been accomplished under the Moscow and Old START treaties. The treaty does nothing to advance US interests.
  • The treaty places a real and significant impediment to developing optimum missile defenses. Senior Administration officials have stated repeatedly that New START includes no limits whatsoever on ballistic missile defenses. Yet, in truth, New START contains many provisions relating to missile defense (including legal prohibitions) and could set the stage for further limitations without the advice and consent of the Senate.
  • Russia views nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of their defense strategy. It has no interest in ridding the world of nuclear weapons. It has every interest in solidifying its position as a dominant nuclear power. This treaty empowers Russia as a nuclear state. An emboldened nuclear Russia will be destabilizing potentially leading to renewed nuclear competition between China and Russia and a more aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
  • The treaty signals a weakening US nuclear posture does nothing to deter Iran or North Korea and may encourage other nations to be become nuclear powers in response to the diminished US posture.
  • Modernization of nuclear infrastructure is important, but the US needs a new generation of nuclear weapons appropriate to US interests. A pledge to modernize infrastructure alone is not an acceptable justification for ratifying this treaty.

Ratification of this treaty, regardless of any modifications or assurances will be a terrible defeat that puts America at risk.

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