|Federation of American Scientists |
FAS Supporters - Nuclear News
The FAS Strategic Security Program is excited to keep you updated on our efforts to make the world more secure.
Back in September, we asked you to write to your Senators to encourage them to support the New START arms control treaty that was facing a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That vote went well, with the Committee voting 14 - 4 to recommend to the whole Senate that the treaty be ratified. The "yes" votes included key support from three Republican Senators, Sen. Lugar, the Ranking Minority member, Sen. Corker of Tennessee, and Sen. Isakson of Georgia.
Now we are asking you again to write to your Senators to support this important treaty. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, negotiated between the U.S. and Russia in April, awaits ratification by the Senate before becoming effective. The New START, like all treaties, requires a two thirds vote of approval in the Senate, or 67 votes. The treaty has truly impressive bipartisan support. Former Secretaries of State and Defense, both Republicans and Democrats, support the treaty, as well as a wide array of former military commanders. Current military commanders also strongly support the treaty.
The New START is an important part of U.S. nuclear security. It continues the arms control tradition going back four decades, providing transparency and predictability between the biggest nuclear powers, the U.S. and Russia.
While the actual nuclear arms reductions imposed by the New START are not ambitious, the verification provisions are important, so that both sides can be confident that no surprises await them. Every day that the New START treaty is not ratified, the United States is without important sources of information, like on-site inspections, which tell us a great deal about Russian nuclear weapons. FAS expert Hans Kristensen has written a blog on the importance of New START, especially the verification.
The New START treaty is also vital because it keeps the door open for more important nuclear arms reduction treaties in the future. Without ratification, the entire process of arms control will grind to a halt for a decade or more.
There are a few, spearheaded by the Heritage Foundation, who have tried to turn the treaty into a political football by raising spurious objections (for example, the treaty doesn't solve the problem with Iran) or blatant misstatements (such that the treaty will lead to North Korea getting more nuclear weapons, although how that actually works is left a bit vague). Given the overwhelming support from former Republican leaders and military commanders, and from the public, it is hard to figure out what Heritage's motivation is. They have already mailed fliers to voters in states with Senators who are potential swing votes.
Some have objected to a vote after the election in a so-called "lame duck" session. There is no reason why the Senate should not vote on this treaty now. I have written a blog on why a lame duck vote is appropriate.
It is vital that your Senators also hear from supporters of the treaty. I ask that you please contact your Senator today, and tell them to support ratification of the New START treaty. You can find contact information for your Senators here.
If you live in a state with a Republican Senator, your help is needed even more. And especially, if you live in Arizona, be certain to let Senator Kyl know that you support the treaty and want it ratified.
FAS will continue to lead the way in educating policy makers, the press, and the public on the New START treaty, and our other efforts to make the world more secure. If you have any questions about the upcoming vote or the New START treaty, please don't hesitate to contact me by email at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued interest in FAS, and your assistance in telling your Senators about this important vote on U.S. nuclear policy.