New START: Could it lead to more nuclear weapons?
Editor’s note: Late last week, Heritage Action began sending direct mail to ten states urging Senators to oppose the New START Treaty. Throughout the week, we’ll examine the claims made in the mailer, one-by-one.
Let’s start with one of the most counter-intuitive claims:
The Obama administration spent tons of political and diplomatic capital reaching this deal with Russia and pushing it on Capitol Hill. Yet, it ignores the greatest nuclear threat looming just over the horizon. According to The Heritage Foundation:
The greatest nuclear threat that the United States faces today comes not from Russia, but from Iran and North Korea, which have little regard for arms control as evidenced by their actions under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Yet New START will have no effect on their nuclear weapons programs.
If Iran and North Korea perceive a weakening in U.S. nuclear posture, they will be emboldened in their pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range delivery vehicles. Nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue nations like Iran and North Korea will create regional tension that could lead to further proliferation.
Moreover, if allies like UEA, Saudi Arabia and Japan feel as though they can no longer depend on the U.S. nuclear umbrella to protect them, they will certainly work to acquire their own nuclear protection. This dynamic was evident in a nuclear gaming exercise conducted by experts at The Heritage Foundation. Their report states:
The U.S.’s decision to stand down its offensive nuclear force led aggressive states to take more risks. Meanwhile, other states increased their nuclear stockpiles and sought out new alliances, which only further increased regional tensions.
International affairs are not static. Other countries will react and seize opportunities to strengthen their standing in the world. So, despite claims New START will lead to fewer nuclear weapons, it will actually create an atmosphere that encourages further proliferation.