Obama Calls for Treaty Ratification in Weekly Address

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma today used his week­ly address to the nation to under­score the impor­tance of rat­i­fy­ing the new Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty this year, call­ing the treaty fun­da­men­tal to nation­al secu­ri­ty.
Here is the text of the president’s mes­sage:

Today, I’d like to speak with you about an issue that is fun­da­men­tal to America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty: the need for the Sen­ate to approve the New START Treaty this year.

This Treaty is root­ed in a prac­tice that dates back to Ronald Rea­gan. The idea is sim­ple – as the two nations with over 90 per­cent of the world’s nuclear weapons, the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to work togeth­er to reduce our arse­nals. And to ensure that our nation­al secu­ri­ty is pro­tect­ed, the Unit­ed States has an inter­est in track­ing Russia’s nuclear arse­nal through a ver­i­fi­ca­tion effort that puts U.S.

inspec­tors on the ground. As Pres­i­dent Rea­gan said when he signed a nuclear arms treaty with the Sovi­et Union in 1987, “Trust, but ver­i­fy.”

That is pre­cise­ly what the New START Treaty does. After near­ly a full year of nego­ti­a­tions, we com­plet­ed an agree­ment ear­li­er this year that cuts by a third the num­ber of long-range nuclear weapons and deliv­ery vehi­cles that the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia can deploy, while ensur­ing that Amer­i­ca retains a strong nuclear deter­rent, and can put inspec­tors back on the ground in Rus­sia.

The Treaty also helped us reset our rela­tions with Rus­sia, which led to con­crete ben­e­fits. For instance, Rus­sia has been indis­pens­able to our efforts to enforce strong sanc­tions on Iran, to secure loose nuclear mate­r­i­al from ter­ror­ists, and to equip our troops in Afghanistan.

All of this will be put to risk if the Sen­ate does not pass the New START Treaty.

With­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion this year, the Unit­ed States will have no inspec­tors on the ground, and no abil­i­ty to ver­i­fy Russ­ian nuclear activ­i­ties. So those who would block this treaty are break­ing Pres­i­dent Reagan’s rule – they want to trust, but not ver­i­fy.

With­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion, we put at risk the coali­tion that we have built to put pres­sure on Iran, and the tran­sit route through Rus­sia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan. And with­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion, we risk undo­ing decades of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship on nuclear secu­ri­ty, and decades of bipar­ti­san­ship on this issue. Our secu­ri­ty and our posi­tion in the world are at stake.

Indeed, since the Rea­gan years, every Pres­i­dent has pur­sued a nego­ti­at­ed, ver­i­fied, arms reduc­tion treaty. And every time that these treaties have been reviewed by the Sen­ate, they have passed with over 85 votes. Bipar­ti­san sup­port for New START could not be stronger. It has been endorsed by Repub­li­cans from the Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tion and both Bush Admin­is­tra­tions – includ­ing Col­in Pow­ell, George Shultz, Jim Bak­er, and Hen­ry Kissinger. And it was approved by the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee by a strong bipar­ti­san vote of 14–4.

Over the last sev­er­al months, sev­er­al ques­tions have been asked about New START, and we have answered every sin­gle one. Some have asked whether it will lim­it our mis­sile defense – it will not. Some, includ­ing Sen­a­tor Jon Kyl, have asked that we mod­ern­ize our nuclear infra­struc­ture for the 21st cen­tu­ry – we are doing so, and plan to invest at least $85 bil­lion in that effort over the next ten years – a sig­nif­i­cant increase from the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion.

Final­ly, some make no argu­ment against the Treaty – they just ask for more time. But remem­ber this: it has already been 11 months since we’ve had inspec­tors in Rus­sia, and every day that goes by with­out rat­i­fi­ca­tion is a day that we lose con­fi­dence in our under­stand­ing of Russia’s nuclear weapons. If the Sen­ate does­n’t act this year – after six months, 18 hear­ings, and near­ly a thou­sand ques­tions answered – it would have to start over from scratch in Jan­u­ary.

The choice is clear: a fail­ure to rat­i­fy New START would be a dan­ger­ous gam­ble with America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty, set­ting back our under­stand­ing of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as our lead­er­ship in the world. That is not what the Amer­i­can peo­ple sent us to Wash­ing­ton to do.

There is enough grid­lock, enough bick­er­ing. If there is one issue that should unite us – as Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats – it should be our nation­al secu­ri­ty. Some things are big­ger than pol­i­tics. As Repub­li­can Dick Lugar said the oth­er day, “Every Sen­a­tor has an oblig­a­tion in the nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­est to take a stand, to do his or her duty.”

Sen­a­tor Lugar is right. And if the Sen­ate pass­es this treaty, it will not be an achieve­ment for Democ­rats or Repub­li­cans – it will be a win for Amer­i­ca.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →