GOP Secretaries of State Make the Case for START

By Annie Augustine

Secretaries of State for the past five Republican presidents encourage the Senate to ratify the New START treaty in a Washington Post Op-Ed today.  

Kissinger and company say that world is safer today because of Republican presidents' efforts to reduce the supply of nuclear weapons and insist that the Senate approve the New START treaty to continue to protect the United States against nuclear dangers.

The former secretaries of state highlight three reasons Republicans should support ratification of the treaty:

The agreement emphasizes verification, providing a valuable window into Russia's nuclear arsenal. ...

New START preserves our ability to deploy effective missile defenses. The testimonies of our military commanders and civilian leaders make clear that the treaty does not limit U.S. missile defense plans. ...

Finally, the Obama administration has agreed to provide for modernization of the infrastructure essential to maintaining our nuclear arsenal. Funding these efforts has become part of the negotiations in the ratification process. ... Implementing this modernization program in a timely fashion would be important in ensuring that our nuclear arsenal is maintained appropriately over the next decade and beyond. ...

An though the dominant nuclear threat today comes from states such as Iran and North Korea and not Russia, the former secretaries stress that the treaty still matters because the United States needs Russia's cooperation in dealing with nuclear dangers across the globe:

Russia's cooperation will be needed if we are to make progress in rolling back the Iranian and North Korean programs. Russian help will be needed to continue our work to secure "loose nukes" in Russia and elsewhere. And Russian assistance is needed to improve the situation in Afghanistan, a breeding ground for international terrorism.

Read the full op-ed at The Washington Post.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/12/gop-secretaries-of-state-make-the-case-for-start/67410/