Time to Ratify New START

July 29, 2010
Nickolas Roth

Over the past few months, questions have been raised about various aspects of the New START treaty. The questions have addressed verification, inspections, missile defense, non-strategic weapons, the negotiating process, and even funding for nuclear weapons. Now that military leadership, the Department of Defense, former heads of Strategic Command, directors of nuclear weapons labs, former Secretaries of State, former Republican and Democratic members of Congress, and independent experts have answered these questions, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for New START. It is time to ratify.

As a reminder of what is at stake, it is worthwhile reposting a set of quotes collected by the Council for Livable World describing the consequences if New START is not ratified. These quotes come from both Republican and Democratic experts.

Gen. Chilton: Russians unconstrained, lose insight into Russian nuclear arsenal

“If we don’t get the treaty, [the Russians] are not constrained in their development of force structure and…we have no insight into what they’re doing. So its the worst of both possible worlds.”

[General Kevin Chilton, STRATCOM Commander, 6/16/10]

Brent Scowcroft: Nuclear negotiations thrown into chaos

“The principal result of non-ratification would be to throw the whole nuclear negotiating situation into a state of chaos.”

[General Brent Scowcroft (Ret.), President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Advisor, 6/10/10]

James Schlesinger: U.S. non-proliferation efforts undermined

Failure to ratify this treaty “would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with regard to, particularly, the nonproliferation issue.”

[Secretary of Defense for Presidents Nixon and Ford and the Secretary of Energy for President Carter, 4/29/10]

William Perry: U.S. leadership on non-proliferation forfeited

“If we fail to ratify this treaty, the U.S. forfeits any right to leadership on nonproliferation policies.”

[Former Defense Secretary William Perry, 4/29/10]

Henry Kissinger: Adversaries and allies unsettled

 “This START treaty is an evolution of treaties that have been negotiated in previous administrations of both parties. And its principal provisions are an elaboration or a continuation of existing agreements.  Therefore, a rejection of them would indicate that a new period of American policy had started that might rely largely on the unilateral reliance of its nuclear weapons, and would therefore create an element of uncertainty in the calculations of both adversaries and allies. And therefore, I think it would have an unsettling impact on the international environment.”

[Henry Kissinger, National Security Advisor to President Nixon and Secretary of State to Presidents Nixon and Ford, 5/25/10]

LawrenceLivermore director: Less certainty

“I think that it is certainly true that the START treaty that is under your consideration does offer the ability to understand, provide more data on what’s going on in Russia with their systems. As a technical person, data is always valuable and so it will certainly reduce our uncertainties.”

[George Miller, Director of The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7/15/10]

Lt. General Dirk Jameson (USAF, retired): Less information about Russians

“Without it [New START] we’d be poorly equipped to monitor Russia’s arsenal.”

[Lt. General Dirk Jameson, former Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff of U.S. Strategic Command, 7/19/2010]