New START Negotiations: Show Us the Records!

Kim Holmes /

The Obama administration’s drive to win Senate approval of the New START arms treaty with Russia has hit a speed bump. Several senators are asking to see the secret negotiating record from the administration’s official talks with Russia.

Why? Because U.S. and Russian officials publicly disagree about what the treaty says. Senators have a right to know – before they consent to ratification of a treaty that affects national security – how those terms now at issue were handled during the negotiations.

The differences regarding missile defense are stark. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asserts that the treaty links arms reduction to restraint on missile defense and that this linkage is legally binding. Russia, he says, can withdraw from the treaty if “the U.S.’s build-up of its missile defense strategic potential in numbers and quality begins to considerably affect the efficiency of Russian strategic nuclear forces.”

Conversely, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton insists that the treaty “has no restrictions on our ability to develop and deploy our planned missile defense systems or long-range conventional strike weapons now or in the future.” (more…)