Government / Politics / Russia / St. Petersburg / Travel


Senate Committee has approved the New START.

What does this REALLY mean?

Both Presidents Obama and Dimitry Medvedev signed the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), at a meeting in Prague on April 8, 2010.  It outlines the reduction of nuclear weapons by both parties.  Russia and the United States are known to be in possession of 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons.  Though the New START is not as progressive as START 1 or START 2, it does further reduce the amount of nuclear weapons that are available to the former countries.  It limits the possessions of nuclear weapons as follows:

(a) 700, for deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers;

(b) 1550, for warheads on deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers;

(c) 800, for deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers.

It also requires transparency in the location of current nuclear arms and their definitions as well as provides the opportunity to perform inspections of the opposite party’s nuclear arms sites.

The previous START treaty expired on December 5, 2009.  Since then, both countries have not been privileged to these benefits of strategic defense.  The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations ratified the New START on September 16, 2010.  It will go to a vote in the full Senate for approval.  But what is the significance?

It really doesn’t hold much weight.  Why? Because the treaty, as most treaties do, allows either party to ‘walk away’ if it feels ‘its interests are jeopardized’.  It also allows either party to propose amendments to the treaty at any time, for equal consideration by both parties.  This is really just a formal agreement that holds no actual value if a crisis were to emerge.

The countries of the world that hold significant amounts of nuclear arms should designate a better way to control them.  A formal agreement that holds strength and repercussions should be enforced.  Obama has stated previously, in his address on April 8, 2010 regarding the New START that this is ‘only the first step’ in reduction of nuclear arms.  However, this step has taken the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, nine months to ratify.  How long will it take the full Senate? And the Russian State Duma?  According to ITAR-TASS the Russian State Duma is prepared to ratify the treaty.  Is this a race to see who will sign it last?


“Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia at New START Treaty Signing Ceremony and Press Conference”. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. Prague, Czech Republic. 8 April 2010.

New START Treaty, as signed on April 8, 2010.


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