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April 08, 2010

The New START Accord: Another Big F@$#%&* Deal
Posted by Kelsey Hartigan

After nearly a year of intense negotiations, President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed today a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)—in Prague, no less, the city where President Obama unveiled his historic 21st century nonproliferation agenda just one year ago. Essential to our national security, this treaty reduces the threat of nuclear weapons, locks in a stable-transparent relationship with Russia, and bolsters U.S. leadership in the arms control sector.  As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen resolutely affirmed, “Through the trust it engenders, the cuts it requires, and the flexibility it preserves, this treaty enhances our ability to do that which we have been charged to do: protect and defend the citizens of the United States. I am as confident in its success as I am in its safeguards."

That’s a big f@$#@! deal.

Elite military and national security experts from both sides of the aisle have expressed their strong support for this treaty—urging its quick passage through the Senate. With the ball in the Senate’s court, the tweet from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sums it up best: “DC's next test - last 3 Senate votes on arms reduction treaties: INF 93-5 ('88), START I 93-6 ('92), & SORT 95-0 ('03) = bipartisan test.”

The long legacy of bipartisan support for arms control agreements poured out today with statements from:
 
Richard Burt, original Chief START Negotiator under President George H.W. Bush and former State Department official in the Reagan administration.

Mark Brzezinski, former director of Southeast European affairs at the National Security Council

Lieutenant General Dirk Jameson, US Air Force (Ret), former Commander of US ICBM forces and Deputy Commander-In-Chief of US Strategic Command

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, US Navy (Ret),Vice Admiral Gunn had a 35 year career in the Navy including posts as Inspector General of the Department of the Navy and Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel

Ambassador Wendy Sherman, former Commissioner, the Commission for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism, and former Special Advisor and Policy Coordinator to President Clinton on US policy toward North Korea

Lieutenant General Robert Gard, US Army (Ret), former President of the National Defense University and assistant to two secretaries of defense

Brigadier General John Adams, US Army (Ret), former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the US Army Staff and Deputy US Military Representative at NATO Headquarters

Steven Pifer, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Ambassador to the Ukraine. Mr. Pifer also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Dr. Barry Blechman, Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1977-1980) and formally sat on the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (1998-99)

Lawrence Korb, Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)

Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Senator Bob Casey, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs

Senator Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senator and former national security analyst at the Pentagon and at the Congressional Budget Office

Senator Russ Feingold, member of both the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees

Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.)

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