Reliable Security Information

What's Wrong with New START and How to Fix It

By James Jay Carafano

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has just approved the new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms treaty (New START) and sent it to the Senate floor," Brent Scowcroft and Jake Garn recently wrote in The Washington Times. ( The veteran national security experts went on to argue that the full Senate ought to take up the treaty. "We are writing to urge that the Senate move promptly to ratify it." they wrote, "[t]he arguments that have been advanced in favor of the treaty are strong and compelling."

Their assessment has been heard and heard often. Proponents of New START gloss over concerns that have been expressed about the treaty by simply claiming the criticisms have no merit. Heritage defense expert Baker Spring ( took a hard look at the issue and provided an assessment in a new research paper titled, "Twelve Flaws of New START That Will Be Difficult to Fix,"

Among the findings of the report are that:

President Barack Obama has transmitted a deeply flawed arms control treaty to the Senate for its consent to ratification. While withholding consent is the simplest and most likely approach, the Senate may try to fix the treaty piecemeal, but this approach has inherent, serious risks. Fixing some of the serious flaws will require amendments to the text, and fixing others will require compelling the Administration to change some of its policies. Regardless of what the Senate chooses, the stakes are high. As with all major arms control treaties, if New START enters into force, it could profoundly increase the likelihood of nuclear war and increase the number of weapons in the world.

In a second recently released study, "Restoring the Role of the Nation-State System in Arms Control and Disarmament" ( Spring outlines an alternative strategy for arms control that addresses many of the concerns raised by New START.

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