BASIC has been engaged with two major developments in nuclear weapons policy: U.S. ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and the results of NATO’s summit in Lisbon, including the release of its new Strategic Concept. See below for BASIC’s press releases and for more information on these topics, please scroll down to the sections on Commitments to Arms Control and Disarmament, and Missile Defense.
The Obama Administration was hoping for the U.S. Senate to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) now that the U.S. mid-term elections are over. If the treaty is not brought to the floor before the end of the year, then prospects for the treaty dim in a Senate where more members will be reluctant to hand the President a foreign policy achievement, and votes in favor of the treaty will be more difficult to muster.
The debate over Trident was heating up with questions about how the United Kingdom will cover costs during a time of tightening defense budgets. In the United States, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to the full Senate, but doubts remained as to whether the Senate would approve the treaty before the end of the year. Thirty-six members of the European Leaders Network called on NATO to increase its role in nuclear arms control just as the Alliance was circulating a draft of its new Strategic Concept, which was last revised in 1999.
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference concluded at the end of May on a positive note. However, the months ahead look uncertain. Diplomatic relations over the North Korean and Iranian programs continue to deteriorate, and there still lacks a firm indication on whether the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will be ratified by the end of the year.
In the run up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference (3-28 May), there have been a number of critical developments. Russia and the United States have signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the Obama Administration just released its Nuclear Posture Review, and Washington is about to host one of its largest summits ever, on nuclear security. BASIC has been following all of these developments (see below) and will continue coverage as their impact unfolds.
Negotiations between Russia and the United States on the follow-on agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) resumed in Geneva, but appeared to face continuing challenges over the issues of telemetry, delivery vehicles carrying conventional warheads, and missile defense. Read more below.
This last year has been one of rising hope for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, but finishes with a big question as to whether the two international conferences - the world's first nuclear security summit of April 12th and the NPT Review Conference in May - will meet expectations.