Your Dec. 27 editorial commented on how busy Congress was during the lame-duck session (“Lame-duck Congress busier than it needed to be”). It goes on to state that the New START treaty should have been put off until January, when it might have received “more discussion and debate than it got.”

That suggests you believe the treaty was not adequately considered. Your suggestion is not supported by the record. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held 11 hearings on the treaty starting last April. The Senate Armed Services Committee had three briefings last summer on it as well, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence also had a briefing on it.

The debate among key policymakers became very intense during the fall, and virtually every national security expert endorsed its ratification publicly. The bipartisan nature of its support was also notable, both in the report coming from the Foreign Relations Committee and in the final vote in the Senate.

Note, too, that both our senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, studied the issue very carefully, and to their credit each then became supporters significantly before the vote was taken.

What is needed starting in January is further nuclear arms limitations and treaties. The next Congress should begin by ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It should then give attention to updating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and its enforcement mechanisms.

There are thousands of nuclear weapons in the world that could fall into the hands of terrorist groups and rogue nations. We need to do more to secure those weapons, in the interest of our national security.

We should be thanking the lame-duck Congress for ratifying New START, and asking our leaders in Washington to consider that treaty just what its name implies, a new start to further diplomatic efforts and international cooperation toward world peace.

 


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