Dear Members and Friends,
Today marks a historic accord between the United States and Russia as both countries made a commitment to reduce their strategic nuclear forces by 30 percent, leading by example and showing that our world is better off with fewer nuclear weapons.
We congratulate both U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for this significant achievement. We applaud both countries’ militaries for the confidence in their ability to continue to provide national security with less strategic nuclear weapons and platforms.
U.S. missile defense played an important role in providing President Obama the necessary confidence in our military’s ability to project U.S. power for the purpose of national security while reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons and platforms. Vice President Joe Biden highlighted this integral relationship earlier this week saying, “Because of advances in conventional capabilities and technologies such as missile defense, we need fewer nuclear weapons to deter adversaries and protect our allies than we did even a decade ago.”
The intentions of this treaty to reduce nuclear weapons are to be respected and recognized, provided that there are no linkages to missile defense.
As released today the treaty preamble contains language that unequivocally links it to missile defense:
“Recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties.”
Furthermore, President Obama and President Medvedev hold differing interpretations of the linkage to missile defense as is witnessed by their statements today.
“I’ve repeatedly said that we will not do anything that endangers or limits my ability as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people. And we think that missile defense can be an important component of that. But we also want to make clear that the approach that we’ve taken in no way is intended to change the strategic balance between the United States and Russia.”
– President Obama
“It matters to us what will happen to missile defense. It is related to the configuration of our potential and our capacities, and we will watch how these processes develop. And the preamble has a language that, to a certain extent, replicates a legal principle of the unchangeability of circumstances that were basis for the treaty.”
– President Medvedev
We look now to the U.S. Senate, as representatives of the American public, to ensure there are no linkages that limit our missile defenses; in either the intent or interpretation of this treaty. The global threat continues to rise, as both Presidents stated today, and the global need for missile defense is growing.
“We offered to the United States that we help them establish a global anti-missile defense system, and we should think about this, given the vulnerability of our world, the terroristchallenges and the possibility of using nuclear arms by terrorists existing in this world.”
– President Medvedev