By Daryl G. Kimball
The United States Senate reconvenes next week for its post-election lame duck session and has an opportunity to overcome the partisan divide of the election season to support ratification of the New START. If they can agree to set aside two to three days for debate and a vote, the White House and Senate Republicans agree the treaty would be approved.
Why? Because New START makes sense for U.S. national and international security in any language.
Avis Bohlen, former George W. Bush administration assistant secretary of state for arms control, and I wrote an op-ed for the bilingual Kansas City newspaper Dos Mundos on the merits of the treaty:
New START mandates that Washington and Moscow cut their deployed strategic nuclear arsenals by 30 percent below current limits, from about 2,200 warheads each to no more than 1,550. It also requires both countries to reduce their stock of nuclear-armed long-range missiles and bombers to 700 each. To make sure both countries comply, New START reestablishes a verification system that includes data exchanges and 18 multipurpose, on-site inspections annually.
New START's predecessor, START I, expired eight months ago. Since then, there haven't been any American nuclear inspections in Russia. Existing intelligence operations provide a rough picture of Russia's nuclear forces. But they can't provide crucial information - like the number of warheads inside a given missile -- that on-site inspections can. The treaty would leave the United States with a nuclear arsenal that is more than large enough to deter an attack from Russia -- or any other nuclear-armed state.
New START will also bolster ties between the United States and Russia. A cooperative relationship between the two countries is critical to keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists and to exerting pressure on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
Read the whole thing, in Spanish and English, here.