US Congress holds START-3 hearings
The US Congress has held the first hearings in the run-up to the ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, signed by the presidents of Russia and the US in Prague on April 8th. Reports from Washington say the participants in the hearings came up with the arguments for and against the newly signed treaty. Former Defense Secretary William Perry urged the Senators to ratify the treaty describing it as a move towards greater trust between the two countries and bilateral cooperation in a wider range of areas. In contrast, another former Secretary of Defense and CIA Chief James Schlesinger refrained from recommending ratification and criticized Russia for supremacy in tactical nuclear weapons. He made no mention, though, that America is the world’s only country which has tactical nuclear weapons deployed on the territory of other states, including European. However, he found the new treaty acceptable from the strategic point of view.
That the new arms deal would have supporters and opponents overseas came as no surprise. Two thirds of the Senator votes, or 67 of 100, are needed to get the treaty ratified. The Democrats has no such majority in the upper house at the moment. The current hearings may thus provide a clearer picture of the new START, which is seen as historic across the world, and the Obama administration has been in talks with the lawmakers on the issue.
Clearly, the competing political forces in the US are involved in a tough, uncompromising and, at times, even dirty struggle for power. But whatever the political games, they cannot go beyond the bounds of the reasonable or encourage decisions which are detrimental to national security interests, Russian-American relations or peace and stability on the planet. Hopefully, reason will take the upper hand eventually and the American lawmakers will ratify the new START Treaty in the foreseeable future.