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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid