CAMBRIDGE (February 9, 2017)— According to news reports, in his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 28, President Donald Trump criticized the New START agreement that limits the number of nuclear weapons the two countries can deploy. The 2010 treaty is due to expire in 2018. Putin reportedly suggested extending the treaty, which prompted Trump to claim that the treaty was a bad deal for the United States and favored Russia.
Below is a statement by David Wright, senior scientist and co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“Congress ratified the New START Treaty because it increases U.S. security. It limits the number of Russian nuclear weapons that can reach the United States.
“Equally important, the treaty includes inspections of Russia’s nuclear forces and other transparency measures that allow the United States to verify that Russia is abiding by its terms. As Ronald Reagan said, ‘Trust, but verify.’ Without the treaty, that monitoring would disappear.
“The provisions apply equally to both nations. It’s a win-win situation in which both nations—as well as the rest of the world—are more secure.
“It would be a grave mistake for the United States to pull out of the treaty or allow it to expire. Instead, President Trump should follow up on President Putin’s suggestion to extend the treaty.”
Please also see a UCS fact sheet summarizing the treaty and verification measures.