Center for American Progress

Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The report of a new agreement between the United States and Russia on a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, marks an historic achievement that will increase the safety and security of the United States and our allies. This new follow-on treaty reduces the threat of nuclear war, marks a significant step in advancing President Barack Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and is a tangible result of President Obama’s policy of constructive engagement with Russia.

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia still possess more than 20,000 nuclear weapons, representing 95 percent of the world’s total. It is past time that the United States and Russia reduce their nuclear arsenals and move beyond the outdated strategic approaches of the 20th century. This new treaty will maintain nuclear stability and ensure that the framework of the previous START treaty, which was initiated and advanced by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is maintained well into the future. The new START agreement also lays the groundwork for the United States and Russia to begin additional negotiations to hammer out an even more far-reaching agreement.

The signing of this treaty also demonstrates the remarkable improvement in U.S.-Russia relations that has taken place since President Obama’s inauguration. Just 18 months ago the bilateral relationship was at its post-Cold War nadir. Now this key relationship is on a productive footing, reestablishing bilateral confidence, and raising the prospects for future cooperation.

Once signed, the Senate should take rapid action to ratify the treaty. This treaty continues the legacy of Ronald Reagan and has tremendous bipartisan support from leading foreign policy officials like Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, Sam Nunn, and Bill Perry. Partisanship should not hold our security hostage, and failure to ratify this treaty would have disastrous consequences for the United States.

Max Bergmann, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy Analyst, is available for comment on issues of arms control and nuclear non-proliferation.

Samuel Charap, Associate Director for Russia and Eurasia, is available for comment on U.S. – Russia relations.

To speak with them, please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 or [email protected].