On December 22, 2010, very close to the end of the last Congressional session, the US Senate ratified New START (New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). By signing this bilateral treaty, the US and Russia have agreed that each will reduce the number of long-range nuclear warheads from 2200 to 1550 as well as the number of nuclear weapon launchers to 700 within seven years of ratification. The treaty also creates a new weapons inspection and monitoring program. New START follows the first START of 1991, which expired in 2009. President Obama acquired the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate in late December after thirteen Republicans joined the unanimous Democratic vote in favor of ratification. The treaty is now before the Russian Parliament for ratification.
Ratification of New START did not occur without strong debate in the Senate. Republicans generally opposed the treaty because they argued it had various shortcomings including an unsound verification program, no terms concerning the reduction of smaller tactical nuclear weapons, and language, which could allow Russia to limit US missile defense options. Democrats favored ratification arguing the treaty promotes nuclear disarmament and creates the opportunity for further discussion on tactical weapon reductions not covered by the treaty.
Do you think that New START will strengthen US national security?