New START and the Moscow Treaty: A Response to Walter Pincus

Baker Spring /

Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, in his August 10 article “New START: A Similar Arms Reduction Pact but a Different Republican Reaction,” argues that Republican Senators are applying different standards for reviewing the 2002 Moscow Treaty between the U.S. and Russia for reducing strategic nuclear warheads and today’s New START, which seeks to limit offensive and defensive strategic weapons. The problem with the Pincus argument, as its title makes clear, is that it fails to account for the dramatic differences between the two treaties. Accordingly, it is essential to describe the specific ways in which the treaties differ.

First, the broader purposes behind the two treaties are miles apart. The Bush Administration was using the arms control process with Russia, including through the Moscow Treaty, to move the U.S.-Russian relationship away from one premised on mutual threats of nuclear annihilation and where the balance of nuclear terror was at the center of that relationship. (more…)