Kyl Wrong on the Impact of U.S. Nuclear Policies

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Katie Mounts, 202.543.4100, ext. 2109, kmounts@armscontrolcenter.org
John Isaacs, 202.543.4100, ext. 2222, jdi@armscontrolcenter.org

Kyl Wrong on the Impact of U.S. Nuclear Policies

WASHINGTON - Today,
experts at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation responded
to recent remarks from Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) regarding current nuclear
arms control efforts, including the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
(“New START”) between the United States and Russia.

In May 19 remarks at the Nixon Center’s National Policy Conference, Kyl argued that:

Bottom line: there is no evidence
our moral leadership in arms control and disarmament will convince
countries to set aside their calculations of the impact of nuclear
proliferation and nuclear terrorism on their national security, and help us address these threats. ”
[emphasis added]

According to Center Executive Director John
Isaacs, who has represented the Center and its affiliated Council for a
Livable World on Capitol Hill for more than 30 years, “Kyl goes
from speech to statement to letter probing for weak points in the New
START agreement without being able to find any. In his latest remarks,
Senator
Kyl is just plain wrong. And that conclusion comes from some very
distinguished practitioners of national security policy.

These distinguished practitioners include former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger,
Kyl’s comrade-in-arms over the years in opposing the test ban treaty,
who urged the Senate to approve the New START agreement on April 29, in
part because it would help America’s nuclear non-proliferation efforts:

I
think that the principal defect, if the Senate does not ratify, lies in
the political area in some of the points that have already been made by
Secretary Perry. To wit, for the United States at this juncture to fail
to ratify the treaty in the due course of the Senate's deliberation
would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with
regard to particularly the nonproliferation issue.

At the same hearing, former Defense Secretary William Perry touted the value of New START in dealing with proliferation and nuclear terrorism:

“It
gives a clear signal to the world that the United States is serious
about carrying out its responsibilities under the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. This will be welcomed as a positive step by
all other members of the NPT. So why is that important? I believe that
the greatest nuclear threat we face today is from nuclear terrorism or
proliferation. This is an international problem and requires an
international solution. None of our objectives in this field can be
achieved without the cooperation of other nations of the world.”

On May 19, former Secretary of States James Baker agreed on the importance of arms control agreements in strengthening U.S. efforts to reduce nuclear dangers:

“It is precisely
at times when relations are warming that we can accomplish the most by
reducing nuclear dangers and reinforcing our ability to cooperate. That
enhanced cooperation in turn enables us to further reduce nuclear
dangers, establishing a virtuous circle that strengthens American
security.”

The day before, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen endorsed the New START agreement on the grounds that it reinforces the wider effort to prevent nuclear terrorism:

“This treaty is
also a critical element in the President’s agenda for reducing nuclear
risks to the United States, our allies and partners, and the wider
international community. Our recently concluded NPR acknowledges the
continuing role for nuclear weapons in the defense of America, while
placing additional emphasis on positive steps to prevent nuclear
terrorism and the risks from nuclear proliferation.”

Similarly, the final report of bipartisan Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States concluded:

“Some other
nations may not show the nuclear restraint the United States desires or
support nonproliferation efforts if the nuclear weapon states take no
further agreed steps to decrease their reliance on nuclear arms."

A list
of other moderates and conservatives who support New START, including
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Marine Corps General William Cartwright, STRATCOM Commander
General Kevin Chilton, and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), can be found on the Center’s website as part of its comprehensive START Resource Center.

###

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century. The Center is funded by grants from private foundations and the generosity of thousands of individual donors.

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