Senate Should Not Rush to Ratify START

Ariel Cohen /

Obama and Medvedev

The New START treaty imposes significant limitations on U.S. ballistic missile defenses, and new limitations continue to be revealed as the treaty is scrutinized. The newest restriction—which has not yet been addressed by the Administration or proponents of the treaty—is a limitation on test-target missiles and their associated launchers, which are used to test U.S. ballistic missile defense systems. Testing is an essential element of the research and development needed to produce the best missile defenses. Consequently, such limitations are unacceptable.

When viewed together, it is clear that the treaty’s Preamble, the Russian unilateral statement on missile defense, and remarks by senior Russian officials suggest an attempt by Russia to limit or constrain current and future U.S. missile defense capabilities by threatening to withdraw from the treaty should the U.S. expand its missile defenses “qualitatively” or “quantitatively.”

There are grave concerns about the treaty in the Senate, and Senators have expressed reservations. Furthermore, there are reports that U.S. negotiators actually told the Russians that the U.S. had no intention of deploying strategic missile defenses in Europe. Only a careful review of the negotiating record can set the record straight. (more…)