I can feel Winter settling in here in Washington's Cascade Mountains as the snow falls this evening; there is a definite chill in the air. While the changing seasons are something to which we adjust, it is critical for continued progress in the control and ultimately the abolition of nuclear weapons that we avoid any "chilling" of relations between the U.S. and Russia.
Right now the Senate must ratify the New START Treaty in order for the Superpowers to get back on track to inspecting each other's arsenals and exchanging information. This connection is necessary to secure ongoing cooperation and produce real security. Without the agreement we can forget about any reduction in the existing nuclear weapons stockpiles.
While ratification of New START is of such importance, there is a very real disconnect in Washington, DC., and not just among a few rogue senators who are trying to scuttle the treaty. Some senators, such as Jim Demint (S. Carolina), James Inhofe (Oklahoma) and Jon Kyle (Arizona) are holding New START hostage in exchange for increased funding of the nation's nuclear weapons complex.
One of their claims is that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the nations nuclear weapons. Judging by the current "modernization" of the nuclear weapons infrastructure along with the ongoing nuclear weapons work that includes the "stockpile stewardship program" (read "rebuilt warheads") I'm not sure how much more they expect the administration to do.
As for the broad scope of this nuclear disconnect, the numbers speak for themselves; the administration had already pledged $80 billion over 10 years to maintain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex. As if this was not enough, Kyl has demanded an additional $4 billion over 5 years, and it appears that Obama is giving in. Even with this offer, it is not looking good for passage of New START by this Congress. Even though we have the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty, Kyl is trying to prevent a vote until the next Congress!!!
It is inexcusable that these politicians who are supposed to represent "the people" are playing games with the nation's (and the world's) security. First of all, passage of New START is of the utmost importance. Secondly, increasing funding to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and build new weapons neutralizes any previous efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons (and send a message of hope to other nations).
Non-ratification of New START is NOT an option! Neither is building up an essentially NEW nuclear weapons infrastructure. Both indicate a disconnect between the people's desire to abolish nuclear weapons and the special interests of those who claim to represent us, but who are far too heavily invested (literally and figuratively) in the Military-Industrial Complex and its parent, the National Security State.
We must not cut anyone even an inch of slack on an issue of such critical importance as New START. Although many senators have shown their support for New START (and we should thank them for that) we now need to demand that they apply some serious pressure to those who hold it hostage.
Click here to send a message to your Senators now! Then click here to download the Phone Bank Tool Kit from the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World, and you and your organization can help mobilize grassroots support for New START! This is our last chance on this one folks!
And just think how far $84 billion would go towards programs of social uplift!!!