The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Cost of START Treaty


Alice Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and is on the coordinating committee of Abolition 2000,
a disarmament coalition. She said today: "The Obama administration will
pay a heavy price to ratify the modest START treaty should it receive
the required 67 Senate votes this week to enact it into law. The
president originally promised the weapons labs $80 billion over ten
years for building three new bomb factories in Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and
Kansas City to modernize our nuclear arsenals as well as an additional
$100 billion for new delivery systems -- missiles, bombers and
submarines. He then sweetened the pot with an offer of another $4
billion to the nuclear weapons establishment to [try to] buy the support
of Senator Kyl. Additionally, he is assuring the Senate hawks that
missile development in the U.S. will proceed full speed ahead, even
though Russia and China have proposed negotiations on a draft treaty
they submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to ban space
weaponization. Every country at that conference voted in favor of
preventing an arms race in outer space except the United States, still
caught in the grip of the military-industrial-academic-congressional
complex which President Eisenhower took great pains to warn us against
in his farewell address to the nation.

"There are 23,000 nuclear weapons on the planet with 22,000 of them
belonging to the U.S. and Russia. The other 1,000 belong to the UK,
France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. In order to
honor our promise in the Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate in good
faith for nuclear disarmament in return for a promise by non-nuclear
weapons states not to acquire nuclear weapons, it is essential that the
U.S. and Russia continue to make large reductions in their arsenals to
create the conditions for the other nuclear weapons states to come to
the table to negotiate a treaty to ban the bomb, just as we have banned
chemical and biological weapons. At the NPT conference this spring, for
the first time, the possibility of negotiating a nuclear weapons
convention was adopted by consensus in the final document. Civil society
and friendly governments are now exploring opportunities for starting
an 'Ottawa Process' for a nuclear weapons ban, just as was done for
landmines. China, India and Pakistan have already voted on a UN
Resolution to open such negotiations. Perhaps Asia will lead the way.
But if the U.S. persists in developing its nuclear infrastructure with
new bomb factories while threatening Russia with proliferating missiles,
it's unlikely that this modest New START will help us down the path to

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