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Russia warns of new arms race

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned a new arms race is possible if Russia and NATO are unable to secure an agreement on a joint anti-missile system. At the same time, the US has yet to ratify the New START treaty.

Could the US and Russia be on the verge of a new arms race?

In a speech before the Russian Parliament, Medvedev was pointing out the importance of the New START treaty and other US-Russian relations, explained Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

However, the START treaty is being held up in the US congress by a handful of Republicans.

They are putting their political future ahead of the nation’s future,” said Korb.

Russia and NATO have made significant diplomatic progress. The two have agreed to work together on an anti-missile defense system focused on Iran, rather than Russia. The US, NATO and Russia will work to implement the system collaboratively.

The New START which will reduce both US and Russian nuclear arms, as well as allow for inspections. The agreement leads to closer ties between the two nations and is positive for US-Russian and NATO relations moving forward, Korb explained.

US President Barack Obama has said the New START is “absolutely essential” to US national security and does boat bipartisan support. However, a small number are preventing its passage.

The president’s got to be stronger,” argued Korb. “He talks about how it impacts our national security, he’s got to say, look, because of this the Russians are allowing our material to go to our men and women in Afghanistan, if that doesn’t happen, your sons and daughters will suffer. The Russians have stopped selling military hardware to Iran and have worked with us on the sanctions, so if you’re worries about the security of Israel and Saudi Arabia you got to ratify this treaty. He’s got to be, I think, much more forceful.”

Obama came to office under the impression he could heal the partisan divides, however that has not been the case.

He’s got to take the case to the American public,” he added. “The American people think the cold war is over, it’s not important. They don’t realize. That’s why he has got to make those connections.”

Tom Collina, the research director at the Arms Control Association in Washington said cooperation is key, and the US, Russia and NATO can work together to solve a lot of issues.

He said he is confident the US will ratify the START treaty in December, before the Congress changes hands in the New Year.

Previous treaties have been ratified in two to five days, so there is plenty of time to do this,” he explained. “We are seeing a softening on the part of the Republican leadership in the Senate because I think they realize that standing against a treaty like the New START Treaty that has the unanimous support of the US military is simply not where they want to be.”

Republican Senator Jon Kyle has lead the opposition voices to the treaty, but other republicans are coming out in favor of the treaty. Kyle’s opposition is political, explained Collina, if it were not for partisan politics he likely would not oppose the treaty. He has now moved away from opposing the specifics of the treaty, to argue there simply is not enough time in the remaining congressional session.

The START One treaty took five days of Senate Floor time to ratify,” said Collina. “Five days or less should do it, and there’s time for that.”

We certainly hope the treaty is passed soon,” he added.