“New START” agreement – analysis on Senate ratification

March 31, 2010

Our colleague John Isaacs had an interesting article on potential US Senate ratification of the New START agreement with Russia on The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website, it’s worth a read.

The one issue John  touches on in this analysis that will most likely be controversial in the peace/disarmament/arms control community (which is not necessarily the same thing, I’m conflating them here for brevity) is the apparent attempt by the Administration to strike a “deal” that we (Peace Action) and many colleagues don’t like, giving more money to the nuclear weapons labs for “modernization,” particularly new facilities at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Kansas City, which could result in a quadrupling of US annual nuclear warhead production capacity from 20 to 80 warheads per year. All of that is supposed to buy Republican support for the New START ratification.

To me, that’s not a “deal” – a deal is when two sides agree to something with certain conditions that each agree to, often a compromise. There is no “deal” here, as few Republicans have pledged to support New START ratification, and even if this were being proposed as a deal, that should come later on in the process. So it’s not a deal, it’s a giveaway to the Dr. Strangeloves at the nuclear labs, Pentagon, Department of Energy, etc.

Furthermore, increasing nuclear weapons production capacity, or “modernization” or even “strengthening our nuclear deterrent” is the exact wrong message to send to the rest of the world on disarmament and non-proliferation, so we’d oppose the giveaways to the nuclear weapons complex even if it was a real “deal” for New START ratification. We’re activists, it’s not our job to “bless” deals like this.

More on this in the days, weeks and months to come.


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