Thursday, April 1, 2010

United States And Russia Announce New START Agreement

Obama announced that the United States and Russia have agreed to new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) terms. It still has to be approved by the Senate, but if it is it will be a further reduction of arms. There is some arguing about what it means for missile defense; and if it allows for missile defense I will give it the thumbs up. It is still not entirely clear to me why this is necessary in the first place unless there was some agreement here to deal with Iran in preventing them from joining the nuclear club. The arms race between two super powers is long over, and I suspect the Russians were planning on downsizing anyways for cost reasons.

"After months of haggling with the Russians over US missile defense and its relation to the new START nuclear weapons agreement, President Obama announced victory today:

“With this agreement, the United States and Russia – the two largest nuclear powers in the world – also send a clear signal that we intend to lead. By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities,” Obama said.

And while there are hints that Republican senators will block the START treaty because of an ambiguous mention of missile defense in the non-binding preamble of the accord, the White House is adamant that they stood up against the Russian demands to link missile defense to nuke cuts:

No Constraints on Missile Defense and Conventional Strike:  The Treaty does not contain any constraints on testing, development or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or current or planned United States long-range conventional strike capabilities.

The White House has not released the text of the treaty, so I'll give them a temporary "bravo" if their claim of keeping the missile defense link out of START indeed pans out as advertised.


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