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Diplomacy in Action

What the New Arms Treaty Would Do

Ellen Tauscher
Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security 
Letter to the Editor in The New York Times
Washington, DC
November 16, 2010


To the Editor:

Re “Why Rush to Cut Nukes?,” by John R. Bolton and John Yoo (Op-Ed, Nov. 10):

President Obama signed the New START Treaty earlier this year after the 15-year-old Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which helped stabilize and improve the relationship between the United States and Russia, expired last December. In arguing that the Senate reject the New START Treaty, the writers do not fairly portray what the treaty would do and put politics above national security.

Like its predecessor, New START is rooted in President Reagan’s maxim “Trust, but verify.” The new treaty limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic warheads each, levels not seen since the 1950s but more than enough for today’s world.

The treaty also allows us to inspect Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which we cannot do without the treaty.

For these reasons, seven former top generals of the United States strategic nuclear command join our current military leadership in supporting the treaty.

There are no constraints on our efforts to develop and deploy the most effective missile defenses or conventional strike systems possible, and the Obama administration has proposed significant investments — unprecedented since the end of the cold war — to modernize our nuclear weapons complex.

After holding 18 hearings and receiving answers to more than 900 questions, senators have a responsibility to consider the treaty on its merits, regardless of the political cycle.

Ellen O. Tauscher
Under Secretary of State for Arms
Control and International Security
Washington, Nov. 11, 2010


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