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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid