New START treaty

Two takes on the new START treaty, one critical by Tikkun ( and one explaining the tradeoffs and compromises by the New York Times.
Tikkun leads off its article:

New START is a force-affirmation treaty, designed to clarify, but not change or disarm, U.S. and Russian nuclear arms. There is no disarmament required by the treaty. There is no indication that it is a “first step” toward “further” “disarmament.””

and continues:

“These negotiations resulted in extensive commitments by the Administration to new spending and upgrades to U.S. strategic armaments, including nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons infrastructure, missile defense research, development, and deployments, and continued development of conventional global strike weapons — much of which is applicable to nuclear delivery systems as well, being currently barred only by (mutable) law. “


“Just this week, and on top of announcements of two major increases in nuclear weapons spending, President Obama promised four senators (including two Democrats) that nuclear weapons complex spending would be exempt from any future fiscal austerity measures that might otherwise apply to appropriations in the Energy and Water subcommittees. The prior increases are posted here and analyzed here and elsewhere at “

LSW initially fails to see the progress achieved here. The NY Times “Obama Gamble Pays Off With Approval of Arms Pact” offers a detailed explanation of what went into the compromises with the Republicans which allowed passage of the bill.

Obama, the article says, had to overcome both the leadership of the Republican party as well as his own, and ‘enlisted the likes of’ Henry Kissinger, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In order to get some Republicans on board, Obama affirmed his commitment to developing the missile defense system (which as far as LSW knows is a transfer of money to the military industrial complex from the people’s monies – yet another legal theft by the rich -to pursue a nonsensical system with no strategic purpose and with no chance of success). In order to deal with concerns about the condition of the nation’s nuclear stockpiles (which LSW would rather be done away with) Obama vowed ‘to stick by a 10-year, $85 billion modernization plan.’ Seems like that money could be better spent on creating jobs.

So what was the point?

“While it will not reduce nuclear weapons as much as previous treaties have, he has made it the centerpiece of his foreign policy — “the Jenga piece,” as one aide puts it, critical to a variety of priorities, including a better relationship with Russia, international solidarity against Iran’s uranium enrichment program and the president’s larger vision of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons.”

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