Brookings Panel Discussion on New START

By: Tess Strumwasser
CIP Summer 2010 National Security/Fundraising & Development intern

On July 23 I had the privilege of attending a panel discussion entitled The New START Treaty: Why it Matters at The Brookings Institution. There was an impressive list of speakers involved in this discussion who all expressed their support for the New START Treaty. The keynote speaker was Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft who served as an assistant to the President for National Security Affairs to both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

Scowcroft opened his remarks by stating, “I am here to talk to you today about what is in some ways a very important treaty and in some ways a very insignificant treaty.” He paused for several seconds, letting all the audience members ponder his seemingly contradictory statement.  He then elaborated, explaining that the treaty is important because it absolutely needs to be passed, yet it is relatively insignificant because it does not push arms control agreements to an entirely new level.  Rather it reenergizes the terms of the original (and expired) START treaty, only it contains stronger verification provisions.  Scowcroft elaborated on this notion by explaining that the new treaty is designed to take this body of rules (that were formulated through the various SALT treaties of past decades) and keep them in place so that then the United States can decide what we are to do on arms control in the near future.  It is for this reason that the treaty “is essential to moving forward”.

For the full audio from this informative talk click here.

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