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  • New START: A Serious Difference in Interpretation

    Heritage Foundation analysts have been pointing out differences in interpretation of New START, a nuclear offensive arms control treaty with Russia, between the two sides for months. Now, a veteran arms negotiator agrees.

    Joel McKean, brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force (ret.) who served as executive secretary of U.S. SALT II delegation, points out a potentially serious difference in interpretation of language in the text of the treaty. “That which was praised as a foreign policy success,” General McKean says, “has the potential now of becoming another international policy embarrassment.”

    On January 14, the Russian Duma conducted a second reading of its proposed law for ratification of New START. Provisions adopted in the Russian Duma reveal that there is no meeting of the minds in the area vital to the implementation of the treaty—ballistic missile defense and conventional Prompt Global Strike. The plain difference in the interpretation of these elements in the agreement should bar the Administration from exchanging the instruments of ratification.

    The Duma’s law declares the “indisputable significance” of the preamble of the treaty, which proclaims an interrelationship between offensive and defensive weapons. General McKean asks, “What if Russia ratifies the treaty while confirming the linkage found in the preamble? What is the next step to be taken by the U.S.?” Unfortunately, because the Administration did not release the negotiating record, the public and the U.S. Senate have no way of knowing on which interpretation the negotiators agreed.

    In addition, ballistic missile defense becomes more important to U.S. national security and homeland defense as the amount of U.S. strategic weapons go down and rogue states with growing intercontinental-range ballistic missile capability emerge. The U.S. Senate is well aware of this fact, as its understanding regarding missile defenses states. This understanding stipulates that New START imposes no limitations on missile defense deployments (outside a narrow provision in Article V of the treaty that prohibits the conversion of offensive missile launchers to launchers of defensive interceptors and vice versa), that restrictive language on missile defense in New START’s preamble is not legally binding, and that no limitations on missile defense deployments (beyond that included in Article V) may be imposed absent a formal amendment to the treaty.

    The Russian law, if adopted as currently written, is incompatible with the U.S. understanding of the treaty. This should bar the exchange of the instruments of ratification for New START and its entry into force.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to New START: A Serious Difference in Interpretation

    1. Tony,New York State says:

      I got onto a web site called endofamerica44.com. It was advertised on the Rush Limbaugh show or the Sean Hannity show. I listened to most of the presentation. It was quite lengthy-more than 15 min long. Would like to know more about this person that is presenting this. He seems to promote gloom and doom, and what to do about it. He also claims to have predicted the fall of the housing market, General Motors, Fannie and Fredie, and other large companies, including a large Mall Developer. Has the Heritage Foundation viewed this presentaion, and what is their take on it?

      His main focus seems the be that the U.S. dollar has the advantage of being the international reserve currency. He also predicts that the U.S. dollar is loosing that advantage, and that when it does, kaos will ensue.

      Has anyone seen this presentation? And with an open mind, and financial experiance, can this really happen. Also, what can be done to stop it?

    2. Bobbie says:

      Just like democrats. As long as it looks good just rush things through. Without comprehension. Without a care to what the consequences are and without a care who will suffer them.

      We, the American people, do not deserve the threats caused by the incompetent actions of government, period. But actions of democrat leadership continues to reveal their incompetence.

    3. Michigan says:

      Should I be thinking of building a bomb shelter like we did back in the 1950's? Should I b e buying more firearms and ammunition, or should I just shoot myself in the head right now? Someone tell me!

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