A NEW VIBRATION - New START (Strategic Arms Reduction) Treaty -
President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed on April 8th to a significant reduction of weapons and delivery systems with respect to the present nuclear arsenal that each country holds.
Supporters of nuclear disarmament and anti-war activists may not be happy with the size of this step, since reducing nuclear warheads on each ‘side’ by one third still leaves a massive overkill potential for the remaining hundreds of warheads that both Russia and the U.S. possess. Similarly, opponents of a 'weak' America will not feel happy with any amount of diminishment of our weapons. Even though parity between the U.S. and Russia remains the same since the same percentage of reduction is being agreed to, they will see this as an invitation to our enemies to increase their strength as we become ‘weaker’ in pursuit of peace.
Beyond this, there is the question of whether this treaty will have any effect at all on nuclear non-proliferation, since the primary threat to the U.S. is no longer Russia but other nations who are seeking to develop or have already developed their own nuclear arsenal.
Yet, despite the objections on both sides, and despite the fact that the world is very far from relinquishing weapons of mass destruction as a way of maintaining peace, we are nevertheless witnessing a new vibration entering the international arena, whose presence is more significant than the actual 'fact' of how many warheads or missile delivery systems will be dismantled.
The new energy of trust, conciliation, and cooperation, as well as the long-term commitment to finding other solutions to the problem of safeguarding our national interest is a significant step in its own right. Rarely has an American President had the courage to go in the direction of peace in the face of significant national sentiment which feels threatened from many sides. Rarely has a President had the courage to not only stand for a vision of the future involving a nuclear-free world, but also to act on behalf of that vision.
Here is what President Obama said about the new agreement:
It fulfills our common objective to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. It includes significant reductions in the nuclear weapons that we will deploy. It cuts our delivery vehicles by roughly half. It includes a comprehensive verification regime, which allows us to further build trust. It enables both sides the flexibility to protect our security, as well as America's unwavering commitment to the security of our European allies... Finally, this day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia -- the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons -- to pursue responsible global leadership. Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation for global nonproliferation.”
The new START treaty is not only a symbol of what might develop in the distant future as additional steps are taken toward nuclear disarmament and peace-making. The event is a vibration in itself which anchors values of trust, respect, and cooperation within an area that has seen a preponderance of fear, mistrust, and competition. Both leaders have made statements to this effect, President Obama affirming that “we (the U.S. and Russia) are taking a positive step in the direction of responsible global leadership,” and President Medvedev stating “there are no winners and losers here. It is a win-win situation.” In this way a new ethic is born.
Within the context of our own lives and using this event as a model, when we look at the practical consequences of an action, it is important to know that the outer results of something we do may not be as important as the inner spiritual effect that our action produces toward changing the consciousness within our families, our relationships, our selves, or the world we live in. The new treaty provides such a model. Though incomplete and limited in its reduction of nuclear weapons, it nevertheless creates an energy for the world's consciousness that is even now having an impact on our awareness.
More actions of this kind are needed, both personally and internationally, to show that the world is ready for peaceful solutions to its problems and that we are ready for the same. More actions of this kind are needed to enable this new ethic to take root. Within our own lives, it is time to look at the barriers we, too, have erected out of fear, and to find ways of taking these down so the common interests we share with others and the common humanity we hold in our hearts may gain prominence. Today a step has been taken in this direction on behalf of the forces of peace and light. More such steps need to follow.