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A Strong Case for a New START

A Strong Case for a New START

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A national security briefing memo from Max Bergmann and Samuel Charap explains what New START is, why we need it, and how President Obama made it happen.
A national security briefing memo from Max Bergmann and Samuel Charap explains what New START is, why we need it, and how President Obama made it happen.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Apr 08, 2010
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1Center for American Progress | A Strong Case for a New START
A Strong Case for a New START
A National Security Briefing Memo
Max Bergmann and Samuel Charap April 6, 2010
What is New START and why do we need it?
New SAR, he agreemen beween he Unied Saes and Russia on a successor o heSraegic Arms Reducion reay, is a hisoric achievemen ha will increase he UniedSaes’ saey and securiy. I will help us move beyond he oudaed sraegic approacheso he Cold War and reduce he hrea o nuclear war, and marks a signican sep inadvancing Presiden Barack Obama’s vision o a world wihou nuclear weapons. I alsoshows ha his policy o consrucive engagemen wih Russia is working.New SAR srenghens and modernizes he original SAR reay ha PresidenRonald Reagan iniiaed in 1982 and George H.W. Bush signed in 1991. Ta agreemensignicanly reduced he number o nuclear weapons and launchers, bu i also embodiedReagans avorie Russian proverb “rus bu veriy” by esablishing an exensive verica-ion and monioring sysem o ensure compliance. Tis sysem helped build rus andmuual condence ha decreased he unimaginable consequences o а conic beweenhe world’s only nuclear superpowers. Ye Presiden George W. Bush’s reckless policies le his cornersone o nuclear sabiliy’sae in doub. Bush eecively cu o relaions beween he Unied Saes and Russia onnuclear issues by unilaerally pulling ou o he Ani-Ballisic Missile reay and reusing oengage in negoiaions on a successor o SAR even hough i was se o expire less hana year aer he le ofce. Te wo counries had los he abiliy o work ogeher on armsconrol by he end o Bush’s presidency.Te Obama adminisraion resored hese ies by adoping an approach o consruciveengagemen wih Moscow, and in litle over a year i succeeded in negoiaing an exensivenew agreemen ha coninues he legacy o Reagan’s vericaion sysem, which broughsabiliy o U.S.-Russia nuclear relaions or wo decades.
 
2Center for American Progress | A Strong Case for a New START
New SAR has he U.S. miliary’s ull backing. I has been endorsed by he counry’sleading voices on naional securiy rom across he poliical specrum, including promi-nen Republicans such as Sen.Richard Lugar(R-IN), ranking member o he SenaeForeign Relaions Commitee, and ormer Secrearies o SaeHenry Kissinger ,Colin Powell , andGeorge Schulz. Bu New SAR, like any reay, requires he approval o a wo-hirds majoriy (67 voes)o he Senae or raicaion, and here is a danger ha i will have difculy overcoming heinense parisan obsrucionism in ha body. Since he agreemen answers all o he con-cerns ha were raised during he negoiaion process here should be no doub abou hemoives o hose who would block raicaion: ideological opposiion o arms conrol or aparisan sraegy o uniormly obsruc and rejec anyhing Presiden Obama proposes.Senaors would do well in heir deliberaions o consider he consequences o no raiyinghe reay. I he Senae rejecs New SAR, we would ener a period o nuclear insabiliy and poenially a new arms race. Tis would be disasrous or U.S. naional securiy.Te Unied Saes and Russia are no longer adversaries. Ye wo decades aer he end o he Cold War hey sill possess more han 20,000 nuclear weapons—95 percen o he world’s oal. Tis new reay represens an imporan sep oward moving us beyond hishauning legacy.
What does New START accomplish?
Te new agreemen mainains and modernizes he exising vericaion sysem, places signi-can limis on deployed sraegic warheads, lays he groundwork or sronger inernaionalacion on arms conrol and nonprolieraion, and resores U.S.-Russia nuclear relaions.I esablishes a robus vericaion regime ha modernizes he ramework conained inReagan’s SAR agreemen. Tis reay enables he Unied Saes and Russia o con-inue o monior each oher’s nuclear sockpiles, ensuring ha boh sides are living up ohe agreemen. U.S. and Russian negoiaors reporedly leveraged heir experience wihSAR’s vericaion and monioring measures o sreamline some o he more lumberingprocedures o build a more efcien and eecive vericaion regime. Te acual ex o he reay has ye o be released, bu early inormaion indicaes ha his new vericaionregime will deepen rus and condence beween he wo nuclear superpowers and evengo urher han SAR in ensuring compliance. Te original reay’s vericaion sysemonly couned delivery vehicles, such as he number o deployed missiles. I didn’ acually coun he number o warheads conained inside o each missile, and his new sysem will.I limis he number o nuclear warheads o levels no seen since he days o heEisenhower and Kennedy adminisraions. New SAR will limi he number o deployedsraegic nuclear warheads o 1,500—a 30 percen drop rom he 2,200 currenly allowed.
 
3Center for American Progress | A Strong Case for a New START
Te allowable number o nuclear launchers—land-based missiles, submarine-based mis-siles, and bombers—will see heir aggregae limi reduced rom 1,600 o 800. No morehan 700 launching sysems can be deployed a a given ime.I signicanly bolsers upcoming eors o comba nuclear errorism and proliera-ion. Te signing o New SAR comes jus days beore Presiden Obama convenesheNuclear Securiy Summi , a meeing in Washingon, D.C. wih 44 heads o sae on April 12 and 13 ha will ocus on sraegies or prevening nuclear errorism. Tese mean-ingul limis on he Unied Saes’ deployed nuclear weapons will pu he Unied Saes in asronger posiion o convince oher world leaders o ake seps o secure nuclear sockpilesand preven nuclear rafcking.Te new agreemen also gives resh momenum o nex monh’s Non-Prolieraion reay Review Conerence in New York, which is mean o bolser he agreemen ha is he back- bone o inernaional eors o couner nuclear prolieraion. Nuclear-armed saes underhe Non-Prolieraion reay agree o reduce heir arsenals and provide non-nuclear-armed counries wih access o civilian nuclear echnology in exchange or an agreemenrom non-nuclear-armed saes o orgo he pursui o nuclear weapons. New SAR giveshe Unied Saes credibiliy o bolser he NP by showing progress on is end o henuclear bargain and pus us on a much beter sanding rom which o orge a srong iner-naional diplomaic eor o conron Norh Korea and Iran over heir nuclear programs.I resores U.S.-Russia nuclear relaions and lays he groundwork or more ar-reachingagreemens. U.S.-Russia relaions on nuclear policy issues had allen apar by he imePresiden Bush le ofce. His unilaeral wihdrawal rom he Ani-Ballisic Missile reay in 2001 helped poison nuclear relaions, and he hree-page arms reducion reay hesigned in 2002 was a weak agreemen ha conained no vericaion measures o ensurecompliance. Te Bush adminisraion also did essenially no work in is nal years o lay he groundwork or a SAR successor agreemen. Te Obama adminisraion had osar rom scrach on a new reay wih only monhs le beore he original SAR expiredamid a compleely dysuncional relaionship wih Moscow on nuclear issues. Te success-ul conclusion o negoiaions pus his relaionship back on rack and ses he sage oruure alks. Te adminisraion should immediaely begin working wih Russia aer New SAR is signed on a more ar-reaching arms conrol agreemen ha addresses acicalnuclear weapons and seeks reducions in nondeployed sraegic nuclear warheads.
 The Obama administration’s approach to Russia
 When Presiden Obama ook ofce in January 2009, he U.S.-Russia relaionship was a islowes poin since he end o he Cold War. Presiden Bush was presened jus ve monhsearlier wih he opion o conducing miliary srikes agains he Russian miliary unisha had invaded Georgia. Such a move would have had caasrophic consequences, buhe bilaeral relaionship was in a sae o near-complee disrepair even beore he Russia-

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