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PacNet #2 – After New START: Give Obama a Hand

January 6, 2011

On Dec. 22, 2010, the US Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in a 71-26 vote. Moscow indicated that Russian ratification would follow swiftly, leading to the treaty’s entry into force. This is a major accomplishment for President Barack Obama, who in his 2009 Prague speech indicated that New START would be the first disarmament treaty of a revamped arms control foreign policy, and that it would set the stage for further nuclear reductions between the United States and Russia. In Prague, Obama also stressed that this process would eventually include other nuclear-armed states as the world moves toward lower nuclear force levels. This goal, together with the commitment to pursuing long-overdue US ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the initiation of negotiations for the conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), was reiterated in the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a landmark document that further reduces the role of nuclear weapons in US national security policy.