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New START Treaty: Just One Step Toward Global Zero

Rose Gottemoeller

September 14, 2010 – The recently signed U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaty may lead to more countries getting involved in the prevention of nuclear proliferation, State Department officials told the Georgetown community Sept. 13.

But no one on the panel believed the worldwide end of nuclear weapons will happen anytime soon.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller (L’ 75), chief negotiator of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and Richard Burt, U.S. chair of Global Zero, participated in a panel discussion at Georgetown hosted by the Center for Peace and Security Studies.

Not a Giant Step

“There really shouldn’t be much debate if this treaty is in the U.S.’s best interest -- it clearly is,” Burt said. “It isn’t a giant step forward for a global zero, but it perhaps gets momentum for dialogue between more than just Russia and the U.S.”

The New START treaty would limit deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550. Signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on April 8, the treaty is now being considered by the U.S. Senate.

Further Negotiations

David Hoffman, contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine and the Washington Post, moderated the panel.

“Why this number of 1,550 -- why not 550?” Hoffman asked Gottemoeller.

“We need to have a transition to further reduction negotiations that in some ways will be much more challenging,” she replied.


Burt noted that the Senate easily passed the original START treaty, but believes this version will require more “hand-holding” in the Senate.

He urged both parties to look at how both Democratic and Republican presidents  over the years have encouraged the prevention of nuclear proliferation.


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