- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Kim R. Holmes of the Heritage Foundation claims that although he opposes the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia, he does not “oppose all arms control pacts” (“A better way to arms control,” Nation, Thursday).

Yet the only arms agreement he cites is the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT) reached under the George W. Bush administration - a treaty that has no verification procedures, clings to unnecessarily high levels of nuclear weapons and expires in fewer than two years.

By contrast, New START sets warhead limits at 1,550 per side - roughly one-third the level set out in SORT - and it has an extensive verification system that will ensure that each side has a clear picture of what the other is doing in the nuclear sphere.If there is to be real progress in reducing the world’s bloated nuclear arsenals, the United States and Russia - which together possess more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear strategic warheads - need to take the lead.

Another of Mr. Holmes‘ critiques of New START is that it doesn’t address the threats from Iran and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. This is sort of like criticizing the police department because it doesn’t put out fires. The issues of Iran and North Korea are being pursued on separate tracks. If anything, New START will make it easier to build and sustain strong coalitions to curb the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

Mr. Holmes seems to want us to believe that he supports a “different kind of arms control,” but his piece shows he supports arms control in name only. His opposition to a legally binding, verifiable treaty like New START is both naive and impractical.

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG

Director, Arms and Security Initiative

New America Foundation

New York

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