News / USA

    United States Ratifies Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., take part in a news conference after the Senate's ratification of the New START Treaty, on Capitol Hill in Wash
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., take part in a news conference after the Senate's ratification of the New START Treaty, on Capitol Hill in Wash

    Multimedia

    Michael Bowman

    The U.S. Senate ratified a nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia on Wednesday by a strong bipartisan vote of 71 to 26. The New START treaty was one of the last measures approved during a busy post-election, end-of-year session.

    Vice President Joe Biden presided over the Senate's ratification vote and announced the result.

    "Two-thirds of the Senate present, having voted in the affirmative, the resolution of ratification is agreed to," said Biden.

    Watch related video report

    At the White House, President Barack Obama hailed Senate action on what he called his "top national security priority."

    "This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades," said Obama. "And it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals, along with Russia."

    The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty would limit U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and delivery systems, and reestablish a verification regime after a yearlong absence. It is a successor to START I, which was signed in the early 1990s and expired last year.

    The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, spoke passionately of the stakes in containing the global nuclear threat, and the need to act on the treaty before the Senate adjourned for the holidays.

    "The question is not whether we get out of here for a holiday," said Kerry. "The question is whether we move the world a little more out of the dark shadow of nuclear nightmare."

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

    Republicans cast the only votes against the accord, including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who questioned Russia's intentions.

    "Russia has been inconsistent at best in helping the United States with the danger of a nuclear Iran and North Korea - the gravest threats to peace in the world," said Sessions.  "Why has Russia not been more cooperative? They blocked a resolution condemning North Korea Sunday at the U.N. Russia attacked Georgia, a sovereign nation. Russia continues to work to undermine the pro-Western democracy movement in Ukraine. They continue a host of actions that evidence a long-term plan to effect a real or de facto reabsorption of these free nations back into what was the old Soviet Union."

    Other Republicans warned that the treaty has inadequate verification provisions, and would impede America's ability to provide a nuclear shield for its allies and constrain U.S. plans to deploy a robust missile defense system. Treaty proponents disputed the claims and defeated a series of amendments put forth by Republicans, many of which would have substantially altered the treaty and required Russian approval for the pact to go into effect.

    As to whether the United States can trust Russia, treaty backers said it is the need for nuclear verification that makes the New START accord essential.

    Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said the treaty will enhance U.S. security and is not the surrender he said Republicans portrayed.

    "This president [i.e., Barack Obama] has not proposed anything that would injure our national security. He is not proposing anything that is unilateral. He has negotiated and his team has negotiated a very strong arms reduction treaty with the Russians."

    President Barack Obama has said that, ultimately, he would like to see a world free of nuclear weapons. Republican opponents of the New START treaty called that wish utopian, naïve and dangerous. Several Democrats responded that, in an age of terrorism, a nuclear weapon falling into the wrong hands would be catastrophic.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.