Time to Ratify New START

WARSAW – As a long-time observer of American politics, I know that United States senators will decide whether to ratify New START, the arms control treaty with Russia negotiated this year, on the basis of a thorough evaluation of their country’s national interests. As the democratically elected representatives of the American people, they alone can determine what those interests are.

The US remains the world’s most powerful state, however, and the senators’ decision will inevitably have an impact beyond their country’s borders. It will be particularly significant for Poland, a staunch ally of the US in NATO. So it is important to make clear: my government supports the ratification of New START, because we believe it will bolster our country’s security, and that of Europe as a whole.

President Barack Obama’s nuclear-disarmament efforts have gained wide support in Poland. The country’s first democratic prime minister, along with two former presidents, including Lech Wałęsa, the legendary leader of Solidarity, published a joint article last year in support of Obama’s bold disarmament agenda.

For almost a year now, since the expiration of the original START treaty in December 2009, no US inspectors have been on the ground in Russia to verify the state of its nuclear arsenal. The START verification provisions provide crucial information that is essential for the force-planning process.