Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The New Start nuclear treaty between the US and Russia has cleared a key procedural barrier in the US Senate and now appears set to be endorsed.

Senators voted to end dispute on the issue, clearing the way for a final vote on the pact, set for Wednesday. Ratification would be a success for President Barack Obama and the Democrats, who have put forward firmed for it. Some senators of Republican oppose the treaty on a diversity of grounds, yet Mr Obama has considered it crucial.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry said after the vote “we are on the edge of writing the next episode in the 40 years history of wrestling with the danger of Nuclear weapons”.

The 67 votes in support of the parliamentary motion to end debate puts the treaty above the doorstep needed for approval at the final ballot, and Mr. Kerry said he likely as many as 70 votes.

The New Start Treaty would trim US and Russian arsenals to 1,550 arranged nuclear warheads - a cut of about 30% from a limit set eight years ago. It would also allow each side visually to inspect the other's nuclear arsenal to verify how many warheads a missile carries.

President Obama was agreed to sign a treaty with Russia of arms control way back in April but the Senate has been hesitant to give its approval.

In the disappearing days of this Congress strongest have lined up to convince reluctant Republican senators to vote for it. All the living secretaries of state have considered in behind it from Kissinger to Rice, and so have America's top military officers.

Even so only 11 Republicans voted for a motion to restraint debate and move to a vote... but that's enough. Opponents say they are worried that the confirmation process isn't good enough and the treaty may concern America's missile Defense Program but most simply don't like this dying Congress pushing through business so close to the president's heart.

They say the vote should have been held next year, when there will be more Republicans in the Senate. But possibility exists that it will now be accepted within days if not hours, a great relief to the president whose authority would be solemnly damaged if the delay continued much longer.

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