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New START Commands Broad Public Support

Volume 1, Number 32, November 17, 2010

With the Senate back in business for its post-election session, one of the main items on the Obama administration's agenda is ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.  On Sept. 16, with bipartisan support, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to send the treaty to the full Senate for approval.

The American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not. An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted Nov. 3-8 reached a similar conclusion, finding that 67% of Americans support ratification and 29% oppose it.

This high level of public support is also reflected on opinion pages around the country, as many U.S. newspapers have published editorials and op-eds in favor of New START. Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.

National

We can't delay this treaty
The Washington Post, November 15
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

"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."

"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."

Ratify the New Start Treaty
The New York Times, September 14
Editorial

"Failure to ratify this treaty would be hugely costly for American credibility and security. It would mean that the United States will have far less information about Russia's nuclear plans. (The two sides stopped sharing data and halted all ground inspections in December when the Start I treaty expired.) And it would mean no further reduction for the foreseeable future in the 20,000 nuclear weapons still in the two countries' arsenals."

Ratify New START Now
The Washington Times, September 22
Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former Senator Jake Garn

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just approved the new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms treaty (New START) and sent it to the Senate floor. We are writing to urge that the Senate move promptly to ratify it. The arguments that have been advanced in favor of the treaty are strong and compelling."

Senate must ratify new START agreement on nuclear arms
Christian Science Monitor, November 15
Editorial

"Failure to ratify would set back the 'reset' in US-Russian relations. It would jeopardize other weapons issues with Russia that need attention (short-range nuclear arms and conventional weapons). It would give Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin one more reason to vilify the West.

But the bottom line, and most important consideration, is that without it, the US can't inspect Russia's nukes. That's reason enough to ratify."

Consensus is clear: Ratify New START now
USA Today, September 11
General Dirk Jameson

"Every day that we delay is another day we aren't getting the security and intelligence benefits we urgently need. The Senate has done its due diligence; it should offer its advice and give its consent. Listen to America's leading military commanders: It is time to ratify this treaty."

It's time for the Senate to vote on New START
The Washington Post, September 10
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator Gary Hart, and former Senator Chuck Hagel

"Given the national security stakes and the overwhelming support from the military and national security community, we hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will send the treaty to the floor with robust bipartisan backing and that senators will promptly ratify it with the kind of resounding margin such measures have historically enjoyed."

Learning from Experience on Arms Control
The Wall Street Journal, September 7
Former Secretary of State George Shultz

"The New Start treaty, like others before it, was built on previous experience. And, like earlier treaties, it provides a building block for the future. As lower levels of warheads are negotiated, the importance of accurate verification increases and the precedent and experience derived from New Start will ensure that a literal counting process will be available. The New Start treaty also sets a precedent for the future in its provision for on-site observation of nondeployed nuclear systems-important since limits on nondeployed warheads will be a likely next step."

The START debate
The Washington Post, July 26
Editorial

"[R]atification of the accord will ensure that inspections of Russian weapons continue; the regime established by the previous START treaty lapsed last year. It will also provide the United States some credibility as it seeks to persuade Russia and other key nations around the world to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Iran and other states.

[G]iven where the discussion stands, ratification of START is something that could, and should, get done this year."

Arizona

Regarding nuclear arms control, Jon Kyl is letting gamesmanship trump statesmanship
Tucson Weekly, September 23
Tom Danehy

"The treaty will also institute a new inspection and monitoring program that replaces the one that lapsed last year, when the initial START Treaty of 1991 expired. After a nine-month (and counting) lapse, the new treaty would again put in place a system that allows for exchanging information and putting inspectors on the ground. It's a program that the United States and Russia need, and one that both sides justifiably pat themselves on the back for being mature enough to want."

Senate must OK U.S.-Russia pact on nuclear arms
The Arizona Republic, September 6
General John Adams

"Rejection or delay of this treaty carries serious consequences. By the time the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes in mid-September on whether to send it to the floor for ratification, it will have been more than 280 days since U.S. on-site monitoring of Russia's nuclear weapons and facilities was suspended.

On the substance, Sen. Kyl's call for even more funding [for the nuclear weapons complex] runs counter to the thinking of our military leadership and those in charge of our nuclear weapons. The U.S. secretary of Defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, STRATCOM commander and NNSA director have all said the administration's proposed $80 billion plan for modernization of the nuclear-weapons infrastructure over the next decade - a significant, 10 percent increase over current levels - is more than adequate. Substance notwithstanding, the treaty should not be held hostage over this unrelated matter."

California

Senate should vote to ease nuclear tensions
San Francisco Chronicle, September 22
Editorial

"The U.S. Senate has become a policy graveyard ruled by political gridlock, not long-term vision. But it can repair its image by approving the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia."

Florida

Get STARTed: Senate must ratify U.S.-Russia arms control treaty
Palm Beach Post, November 17
Major General William F. Burns

"Still, some skeptics refuse to budge. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Tuesday opposed any vote on the treaty, perhaps to extract even more funding to 'modernize' our nuclear arsenal. Such tactics are unhelpful and unnecessary. Mr. Obama's $7 billion request for nuclear weapons maintenance and infrastructure in fiscal year 2011 is 10 percent higher than it was in the final year of the Bush administration. And if there are cost overruns for weapons maintenance, lawmakers can revise the budget.

The Senate must approve New START, and quickly. The U.S. and Russia have made significant progress in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons for decades, and it's made our world safer. This is no time to stop."

Arms reduction pact with Russians deserves support
The Florida Times-Union, September 13
Nancy Soderberg, former ambassador to the United Nations

"Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., who has yet to declare his position on the treaty, ought to join Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., in supporting the [New START] treaty when it comes up for a vote later this year. It's a smart vote in our national security interest.

New START makes an important 30 percent reduction in the number of nuclear warheads deployed by both the United States and Russia - which, combined, make up 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. That will leave each side's arsenal at 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery vehicles, such as nuclear submarines, bombers and missiles. We will be able to keep a close watch on the Russians to make sure they don't cheat."

Georgia

A faith perspective on arms treaty
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14
Joseph E. Lowery and Jonathan Merritt

"For those called to seek the kingdom of God before all other things, the quest for peace is never optional. While this treaty will not end the nuclear danger, let alone end war, it is a step in the right direction - and a measure deserving the support of all who wear Christ's gentle yoke."

Treaty protects against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 7
Major General Paul D. Eaton

"For more than 40 years, the U.S. has pursued strategic stability through an arms control process that has been vigorously supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. The New START Treaty both continues these established principles and tailors them to meet the security needs of the 21st century."

Iowa

Ratify the new START treaty now
Des Moines Register, November 16
Editorial

"The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit deployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

Maine

New START ratification important for our security
Bangor Daily News, November 10
Chris Rector, Maine state senator

"New START establishes a state-of-the-art verification process that allows us to track Russia's nuclear activities and verify the reductions they've committed to. Improving U.S. intelligence on Russia's nuclear capability and securing and reducing its nuclear stockpile significantly enhances American national security. Anyone who supports greater stability, transparency and predictability of the world's other major nuclear power should support of this treaty."

Massachusetts

A GOP legacy at risk
The Boston Globe, September 14
John B. Rhinelander, former Nixon administration treaty negotiator

"Republicans have a proud history of taking the lead on nuclear arms control treaties with Russia - treaties that have made America safer.

A ratified new START Treaty would once again provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic forces, allowing US officials to make better-informed decisions about investments in our nuclear forces and other military capabilities. Relying on worst-case or best-guess decision-making invariably leads to wasteful military spending."

Nebraska

Let's reduce nuclear threat
Omaha World-Herald, September 6
Greg Thielmann, former U.S. foreign service officer and former senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, ACA senior fellow

"[New START] Treaty ratification will set in motion the verifiable reduction of hundreds of strategic nuclear weapons, without weakening the deterrent capability of U.S. forces. It also will re-establish the on-site monitoring of Russian and U.S. missile and bomber bases. This monitoring is necessary for confidence that both sides are reducing their stockpiles as agreed."

Senate should get STARTed
Omaha World-Herald, September 4
Editorial

"Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

New Hampshire

Let national security, not politics, guide decision on START
Nashua Telegraph, August 29
Generals John Castellaw, Dirk Jameson, and John Adams

"As those whose career has been dedicated to our nation's defense - including responsibility for all U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles, overseeing Marine Aviation and the Marine Corps budget creation and execution, and as the U.S. deputy military representative to NATO - we take very seriously the idea that national security should be above political partisanship.

Unfortunately, there has been an increasing push to make a treaty designed to provide stabilization to our strategic nuclear forces, vital intelligence and verification, as well as a modest reduction in those nuclear weapons, into a political issue. Senators should resist that push, stick to the facts and ratify the [New START] treaty."

New Jersey

Senate should speed approval of New START arms treaty with Russia
The Star-Ledger, September 12
Avis Bohlen, former Asst. Sec. of State for Arms Control, and Daryl Kimball, ACA executive director

"The revival of U.S.-Russian strategic dialogue has already improved cooperation in a variety of fields. New START will help strengthen our joint efforts to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, as well as keep pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, which it could use to build the bomb. Without New START, Russian support will be far harder to obtain."

North Carolina

Senate should approve new arms treaty
Asheville Citizen-Times, October 14
Lee McMinn

"Despite the claims to the contrary, New START will not limit modernization of existing stockpiles, nor will it limit development of anti-missile technology, or weaken our ability to defend against a large-scale nuclear attack. In fact, this treaty will strengthen our security by reducing the amount of military-grade nuclear material that might fall into the hands of rogue states and stateless terrorist groups bent on harming us."

Ohio

Senate must make arms treaty lame-duck priority
The Blade, November 9
Phineas Anderson, Richard P. Anderson, and Stephen Stranahan

"Senator Voinovich and his fellow Republicans should unanimously join Democrats in passing New START this year, as senators of both parties joined in 2002 to approve the Moscow treaty. On national security, bipartisanship rather than politics should rule the day."

Pennsylvania

Nuclear-arms treaty will test Obama, GOP
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund

"In July, referring to New START, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress, 'This treaty has the full support of your uniformed military.' Cabinet officials from every administration since Richard Nixon's also gave their support to the treaty during 20 Senate hearings and briefings. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave it a bipartisan 14-4 vote of approval. With this level of consensus, Senate passage of New START would seem like a no-brainer."

Tennessee

New START treaty good for the country and ET
Knoxville News Sentinel , September 24
Editorial

"The treaty makes sense for the country's foreign policy and national defense goals. Both countries would be able to inspect and verify each other's arsenals for compliance, and the pact should bolster America's standing as it tries to curb the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea."

Utah

New START widely supported, should be ratified
Salt Lake Tribune, November 13
Mark Shurtleff, Utah attorney general, and Ryan Wilcox, Utah state representative

"The signing of New START has cemented U.S. leadership on nonproliferation issues, strengthening efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear materials and building support for sanctions aimed at ending Iran's nuclear program.

Since the treaty was signed, Russia has now joined the United States in a Security Council vote on sanctions and canceled weapons sales to Iran."

Wyoming

Senate should support New START treaty
Casper Star-Tribune, September 15
Former Senator Alan Simpson

"New START will continue to provide on-the-ground information about Russian strategic force deployments that is unavailable from any other source. There is just no other way to gain such insight into Russia's arsenal. Moreover, such transparency improves predictability and stability not only between our two nations, but it also helps prevent this dangerous material from falling into the hands of those who wish us harm."

-ROB GOLAN-VILELLA