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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More