News / USA

Democrats Push For Approval of Arms Control Treaty This Year

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, flanked by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., talks about the START Treaty following their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, 17 Nov 2010
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, flanked by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., talks about the START Treaty following their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, 17 Nov 2010

Multimedia

The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on the U.S. Senate to ratify a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. Called the New START treaty, it builds on a landmark arms control agreement signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1991.

The initial accord expired last year, and the fate of its successor might hinge on the ability of the U.S. Senate to act in a brief, end-of-year session. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a high-profile visit to urge prompt ratification of the treaty.

It is called a "full court press" - an all-out administration effort to get key legislation approved by Congress. On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden issued a strongly-worded statement warning of grave consequences for U.S. national security if the New START accord is not ratified. The next day, Secretary of State Clinton underscored the point in a corridor near the floor of the U.S. Senate.

"It is, to me, essential that we bring this [treaty] before the Senate. For anyone to think we can postpone it or avoid it is, I am afraid, vastly underestimating the continuing [nuclear] threat that is posed to our country," said Clinton.

Under the New START treaty, U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals would be reduced by as much as a third.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, highlighted the treaty's benefits and the dangers posed by the status quo.

"Here we have a treaty that, for the first time, provides additional ability to count warheads on both sides," said Kerry. "Here we have a treaty that allows us to have a spot, [unannounced] random inspection to find out what the other side is doing.  But for one year now, we have had no inspections, no American boots on the ground in Russia able to protect American interests."

But some Senate Republicans are less than enthusiastic about the treaty. Jon Kyl of Arizona issued a statement Tuesday, saying that the Senate's busy schedule does not permit full consideration of the treaty before the new Congress convenes in January.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said he favors arms control, but that he has concerns about New START treaty.

"I think it would be good to have a treaty," said Graham. "But this treaty cannot infringe on the ability of the United States to deploy missile defense systems we think are vital to our national security or [that of] our allies. There is some language in the treaty that creates doubts in [Senate] members' minds. The second hurdle is modernization. Many Republicans, like myself, believe we would be better off with a treaty than without [one, but] - only if we modernize our nuclear deterrent force."

The Obama administration has signaled it intends to increase an $80-billion plan to upgrade and modernize America's nuclear infrastructure.

One of the few Republicans to support ratification of the New START accord is Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who said he, too, supports nuclear modernization. He adds, however, that the United States can act to improve nuclear security by ratifying the treaty.

"This is very serious. 13,300 [Russian] nuclear warheads aimed at us - our cities, our military installations - everything we have. Thirteen-thousand-three-hundred. Any one of those warheads could obliterate the city of Indianapolis, Indiana [The state's largest city]."

The U.S. Constitution mandates that treaties be negotiated by the executive branch and ratified by the Senate.

Most analysts say ratification will be more challenging come January, when the Democrats' Senate majority will be greatly reduced.

Related video report by Carolyn Presutti:

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs