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Treaty with Russia on Measures for Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms--Resumed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BOND. Mr. President, New START is a bad deal for the United States. It requires us to reduce our deployed strategic forces while the Russians can add to theirs. This amounts to unilateral reductions.

The treaty gives Russia political leverage, which they will use, to try to prevent us from expanding our missile defenses to protect us against North Korea and Iran. This is unacceptable.

The treaty fails to deal with Russia's reported ten to one advantage in tactical nuclear weapons or their nuclear, sea-launched cruise missiles. However, the Treaty will limit our nonnuclear ballistic missiles.

Compounding these deficiencies, the treaty's verification is weak and the Russians have a poor compliance record.

As vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have reviewed all the relevant classified intelligence concerning this treaty. I come away convinced that the United States has no reliable means to verify the treaty's central 1,550 warhead limit.

It is also inexcusable that the United States has forfeited in this treaty the rights it enjoyed under START to full and open access to Russian telemetry. This amounts to giving up the ``keys to the kingdom,'' as it will harm our ability understand new Russian missile developments.

The administration has attempted to justify giving up Russian telemetry on the basis that it is not needed to verify the New START treaty. This is only true if you believe that the treaty's ten or fewer yearly inspections of Russian missiles will provide adequate verification. They do not. In fact, these inspections have three strikes against them.

Strike One: The 10 annual warhead inspections allowed under New START only permit us to sample 2 to 3 percent of the Russian force.

Strike Two: The inspections cannot provide conclusive evidence of whether Russia is complying with the 1,550 warhead limit. If we found a missile loaded with more warheads than Russia declared, it would be a faulty and suspicious declaration. However, we could not infer that Russia had thereby violated the overall 1,550 limit. The Russians could just make some excuse for the faulty declaration, as they have in the past.

Strike Three: New START relies on a type of on-site inspections that Russia illegally obstructed on certain missile types for almost the entire 15 year history of START. Russia's use of illegal, oversized covers were a clear violation of our on-site inspection rights under that treaty. As the old adage goes, ``fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.''

Common sense tells us that the worse a treaty partner's compliance history, the stronger verification should be. However, according to official State Department reports by this administration and the previous one, Russia has violated, or is still violating, important provisions of most key arms control treaties to which they have been a party. In addition to START, this includes the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and Open Skies.

We also know that the lower the limits on our weapons, the stronger the verification should be. But with these lower New START limits, our verification of warhead limits is much worse than under the previous START treaty, with its higher limits.

With all these arguments against the treaty, proponents can only point to one tangible benefit--that we will know more about Russian forces with the treaty than without it. This is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Learning more will hardly compensate the United States for the major concessions included in this Treaty. What are these concessions? Unilateral limits, unlimited Russian nuclear systems, limited U.S. nonnuclear systems, unreliable verification, the forfeiture of our telemetry rights, and perhaps most importantly, handing Russia a vote on our missile defense decisions.

In many cases, concerns about particular treaties can be solved during the ratification process. My colleagues have my respect for their attempts to do so. Unfortunately, New START suffers from fundamental flaws that no amount of tinkering around the edges can fix.

For these and other reasons, I cannot in good conscience vote to ratify the New START treaty.


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