Saturday, December 11, 2010

START Treaty

I'm not sure how I feel about this. There are a few ways to look at it.

This treaty forces the United States to reduce unilaterally forces such as missiles, bombers and warheads, in order to meet treaty limits. The Russians however will actually be allowed to increase their deployed forces because they currently fall below the limits set by the treaty. One troubling point is that most of the talks on this treaty have completely ignored the implications of China who has recently been spending alot of time and money on upgrading it's own nuclear capabilities.

Some believe that the new Senate Republicans will carry out their threat to block and kill the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. They also believe that our ability to conduct foreign policy effectively throughout the world will be significantly weakened when this happens. They will also tell you that the treaty’s failure will harm our relationships with Russia and undermine cooperation on Iran securing nuclear materials while making it more difficult for all foreign governments to take political risks in negotiating future agreements with the United States.

On the other hand, many folks agree that Barack Obama's pledge to seek “the peace of a world without nuclear weapons”, was a really good thing. The new treaty would reduce the number of each countries nukes to 1,550 warheads from the 2,200-weapon limit set under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The agreement also cuts by half the missiles and bombers that are capable of carrying and deploying the weapons.

Another thing to consider is that the new treaty applies only to deployed weapons. The U.S. and Russia still maintain a combined stockpile of over 20,000 nuclear warheads which account for about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear stockpile. This number is still massive but far lower than the peaks once seen by the two nations. Have no fear we are still able to destroy the world many times over at a moments notice.

These weapons have kept the world mostly at peace, at least from nuclear war but they have a cost as well. Some reports show that we spend over 50 billion dollars a year on maintaining our arsenal which has not been used since 1945. This is an extremely high cost to maintain a pissing contest.

In summary I believe we need to maintain a strong military force but I can't help but wonder if maybe our nuclear arsenal isn't a sinkhole being used to throw cash into. Think about this, we have had as many as 33,000 nuclear warheads, has anyone ever seen all of them? Currently, supposedly, we have less than half this number now, do we really need that many? Does it really keep us more safe having the capability to destroy every piece of soil on the planet 10 times over? Would we be less safe is we only had a few hundred warheads?



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