In the two months since the New START Treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) was signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev, critics have raised a number of questions about its terms and impact. So far, however, they have raised no substantive objection that could sink the treaty’s ratification prospects.
New START will reduce U.S. and Russian strategic warheads to a level of 1550—a cut of about 30 percent from what the sides were previously allowed. The treaty also sets limits on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and nuclear-capable bombers. These limits will bring U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces to their lowest levels in 40 years.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee opened Senate review of the treaty on May 18. In the weeks since the treaty text was released in April, we have already seen the principal questions of treaty critics. What are the objections? What are the responses?