Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Speakers Talk START

On Tuesday, Rose Gottemoeller (I ’75) and Richard Burt, respected scholars and policymakers in nuclear disarmament, discussed the merits of the new Strategic Arms Reduction treaty, which limits the number of ready-to-deploy nuclear weapons for the United States and Russia.

The speakers each made concise arguments for ratification despite the entrenched partisan battle over the treaty in Washington, D.C.

“There is a great deal of momentum toward ratification . [The U.S. government] should grasp at it .” said Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state of verification, compliance and implementation.

The START treaty, which had been signed by President Obama and President Medvedev, would be considered by the U.S. Senate within the week, said moderator David Hoffman, former editor of The Washington Post. U.S. treaties signed among nations require Senate approval.

The treaty, however, which would build upon a previous START treaty signed in 1992 during George H.W. Bush’s administration, will come under serious pressure, warned Burt, former ambassador to West Germany and chairman of Global Zero, a nonproliferation group.

“I had to look up the vote for the START treaty in 1992; it was 92-5. Only five senators came out against the treaty in 1992, a true bipartisan effort. I think [the START treaty] will be ratified sooner or later . but it will generate more than five negative votes, and I don’t understand why,” Burt said.

According to Burt, since the Russians under the Medvedev administration had been very open and engaged in the reduction process, that instead of something being wrong with the treaty, maybe “there’s something wrong with the politics in this city.”

“[The signing of the treaty] is not only a historic moment . but also a moment for bipartisanship,” Gottemoeller said.

Those gathered at the event seemed impressed by the evident agreement between the speakers.

“Both clearly conveyed and agreed on the START treaty. It was a right step forward, and creates a framework for future negotiation with Russia and the United States,” Drew Bausher (COL ’13) said. “I especially liked how [Gottemoeller’s and Burt’s] proposals didn’t set strict numbers on each type of nuclear weapon, but on a total number. The different interests of the two countries would require compromises on the numbers.”

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