As we get ready for the New Year, we’ve got some good news and some bad news.
First off, the bad news: we’re down to just ONE international nuclear arms control agreement with Russia. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is vitally important. It places numerical limits on United States and Russian arsenals, limiting intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, heavy bombers, and warheads, and includes extremely valuable verification protocols. The Trump administration hasn’t withdrawn from it yet—but New START is set to expire in 2021, and without an extension, it will go the way of the dodo.
With Russia and the United States collectively possessing 12,675 nuclear weapons, the stakes could not be higher. Any nuclear war would cause one of the worst humanitarian crises imaginable, as PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Director Martin Fleck recently highlighted in an op-ed for The Progressive.
Even Vladimir Putin understands the risks of letting this treaty expire. That’s why, on December 5, he said: “Russia is ready to extend the New START treaty immediately, before the year’s end and without any preconditions.” Now the ball is in our court.
Unfortunately, the United States isn’t on board yet—even though New START received bipartisan support from Congress when it was ratified in 2010, and various military officials continue to cite its strategic importance. Learn more about New START here.
We need to extend New START, and that’s where the good news comes in: the existing treaty includes a provision that allows the American and Russian presidents to extend it to 2026 through executive action. What’s more, bipartisan legislation in Congress supports extending New START and ensuring that this vital, verified diplomatic path to arms reduction remains in force and enforced as we seek to de-escalate tensions between these two nuclear-armed countries.
We need your help to get support for extending New START in the halls of Congress. Can we count on you to take action today?