Volume 1, Number 22, September 14, 2010
Over the last few weeks, newspapers across the country have published editorials and op-eds in support of U.S. Senate 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. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on New START Sept. 16.
Below is a sample of the broad editorial support for New START from all regions of the United States.
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.
Senate approval of New START would send a strong message to the world that the United States can overcome partisan differences and take concrete, practical action to reduce the nuclear threat and enhance our nation's security.
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.
Ratify the Treaty
The New York Times, August 1
[New START] will make the world safer, guaranteeing each country continued insight into the other’s strategic arsenals, with data exchanges and regular inspections.
Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States and Russia still have more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. That is absurd. The Senate needs to pass New Start now.
The START debate
The Washington Post, July 26
[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.
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.
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.
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.
Our View: Senate should back Russian nuke treaty
Portland Press Herald, August 4
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the U.S. and Russia…deserves to be considered outside the boundaries of the current political campaign.
Maine's Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe should use their well-honed bipartisan instincts and find common ground on this issue for the good of the nation. This is a time when politics should indeed stop at the water's edge.
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.
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
[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.
The votes of both Sens. Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns are needed to ensure that this essential treaty does not get delayed or derailed by partisan wrangling.
Senate should get STARTed
Omaha World-Herald, September 4
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.
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.
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
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.
Hiroshima’s scars confer obligation: editorial
The Plain Dealer, August 7
That's why the U.S. Senate must lose no more time in ratifying the updated [New START] strategic arms treaty between Washington and Moscow; the delays this year have been unconscionable. Ohio Sen. George Voinovich, long an advocate of arms control, needs to lead the way for his fellow Republicans.
- ROB GOLAN-VILELLA