Press Release

The Impact of START

Experts Discuss U.S. Allies' Reaction, The Contents Of The Treaty, U.S.-Russia Relations, And The Upcoming Ratification Process.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on a press conference call hosted by the Center for American Progress, CAP experts Max Bergmann and Samuel Charap released an issue brief A Strong Case for a New START and, along with the Honorable Des Browne MP and Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, they discussed the impact of START.

The Right Honorable Des Browne MP on the allies’ view:

"American audiences should understand that the United States’ allies in Europe have been waiting expectantly for these days – the days in which we would sign the follow-on to the START treaty which would give then permission to our governments, both Britain and France in particular, to start to set the terms in which we can engage in this multilateral disarmament environment for the publication as we expect today of a nuclear posture review and the permission that that gives, particularly America’s European nuclear allies, the permission it gives them then to set the terms for their policy and relation to nuclear weapons and sets their ambitions for future generations…the timing of the signing of this treaty could not have been more important with the Washington nuclear summit coming up which the prime minister will attend, and the NPT conference in May."

“We understand that the nuclear posture review will give a guarantee to nations that remain non-nuclear that they will never be attacked with nuclear weapons. That is extremely welcome because in the context of the NPT it gives countries every incentive not just to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to abide by its terms, and through that the president has sent to Iran and all non-nuclear weapon states a clear signal that compliance with the NPT will give them strong national security benefits, reducing significantly any incentive that they may play internationally to go nuclear and from our point of view, and for Britain and for France, this clarity of policy challenges political ambiguity of policy and creates [an] environment we greatly welcome.”

Dr. Samuel Charap, Associate Director for Russia and Eurasia at American Progress, on U.S.-Russia relations:

“[The Obama administration] decided it would be crucial to engage the Russians for a number of their top foreign policy priorities including arms control…They took a risk…the new START is a sign that it paid off…looking forward, it creates the atmosphere for a broadening of the relationship”

Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, on the process and the contents of the treaty:

"This is an extremely important agreement primarily because it sets new, much lower, limits to the number of long ranges that a strategic nuclear weapon that the U.S. and Russia can deliver. These are levels we haven’t seen since the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. And its part of the trend of the last few years of steadily pulling back from the nuclear madness of the Cold War"

"The most important part is not just limits but verification procedures that it re-establishes…they lapsed on December 5, 2009..what this does is it restores the United States’ ability to get intelligence on Russia’s weapons and vice versa. And that’s what military planners want…they want knowledge, they want predictability, and they want stability in that strategic relationship"

"When this administration walked into the State Department, there was tumbleweed blowing down the halls of the arms control section. The talent had been gutted, people had been fired…they had to rebuild the whole apparatus and restart the whole dialogue with Russia. They have successfully done so."

Max Bergmann, Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Analyst at American Progress, on ratification in the U.S. Senate:

“We think this sets up a real test for where conservatives are. Are they with the Heritage Foundation or with the Colin Powells of the world? … The new START treaty essentially answers all the conservative arguments and concerns that they issued prior to the announcement of the signing. I think what we see now is conservatives desperately searching for reasons to oppose the treaty but there frankly aren’t any real substantive reasons.”

  • Read the brief A Strong Case for a New START, here
  • Listen to the entire audio of the press conference call, here
  • Listen to a podcast interview with Max Bergmann on the new START agreement, here

Max Bergmann and Samuel Charap are available for comment. To speak with them, please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 or [email protected].