WASHINGTON DC -- Moments ago, Reuters reported that in a phone call between Russian and U.S. Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, Trump rejected the possibility of extending the New START Treaty and derided the nuclear arms control agreement as favoring Russia.
The New START Treaty requires that both the United States and Russia reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550 accountable offensively deployed weapons by 2018, the lowest level since the 1950s. It also caps the number deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers. It does all this under rigorous on-the-ground inspections by both countries.
In reaction to the press report, Bruce Blair, co-founder of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:
“It should worry everyone that the President understands so little about nuclear issues and a treaty that is so vital to the national security interests of the United States. Trump’s reported off-the-cuff dismissal of New START put him at odds with the overwhelming political and military support the Treaty received — including from the head and former head of U.S. Strategic Command.
“New START imposes equal obligations on both the United States and Russia. The idea that it’s one-sided is one more ‘alternative fact’ from this administration that must be loudly rejected.
“Extending New START has been a key goal of the United States, with good reason. New START provides a critical window into Russia’s nuclear capabilities and intentions, now and in the future. These are tools our intelligence community can’t afford to lose and would take billions of dollars and precious years to replace.
“The Treaty is also a powerful restraint on Putin’s nuclear ambitions. Without it, there would be nothing to prevent Russia from expanding its nuclear arsenal after 2021. That could trigger a dangerous nuclear arms race, one Trump recently promised to win no matter the cost.
“At the stroke of a pen, Trump could extend New START, preserve critical verification tools and strengthen restraints on Russia’s nuclear ambitions for the long haul. Instead, he seems intent on careening down a path that leads to more nuclear weapons on the planet and a greater likelihood of nuclear war.”
In response to Trump’s reckless nuclear agenda, Global Zero recently endorsed the “Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act” (H.R. 669), which requires a Congressional declaration of war prior to launching nuclear weapons except in response to an incoming nuclear attack. The legislation would limit Trump’s ability to start a nuclear war on his own initiative, which the current system allows.
A petition supporting the proposed legislation can be found here: http://bit.ly/2jj8wYJ.
Earlier this year, Global Zero co-founder and former nuclear launch officer Dr. Bruce Blair published a startling piece in POLITICO outlining various nuclear scenarios facing now-President Trump and highlighting the inherent danger of U.S. reliance on a “red button” nuclear system primed for first-strike and rapid-launch.
For more information, or to speak with someone from Global Zero, including former nuclear launch officer Bruce Blair, please contact Yasmina Dardari at 407-922-8149 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
# # #
Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is led by more than 300 eminent world leaders and backed by half a million citizens worldwide. For more information, please visit www.globalzero.org.