Over the weekend I did an interview with Daily Kos’ Plutonium Page on the status of New START. Page’s post as well as excerpts from our discussion can be found here.
Topics covered include some key points of contention in the negotiations, why I’m optimistic that a new agreement will be signed by the end of this year, and what an agreement to bridge the gap between the expiration of START I and entry into force of New START might look like. I also managed to sneak in a great quote from START I negotiator Linton Brooks, which Center super-researcher Kirk Banask first highlighted last month.
Update 11/24: Yesterday I went back and listened to the audio of an event on START hosted by USIP in late October. The panelists included Linton Brooks, Joe Cirincione, and Tom Scheber. In addition to leaving us with his great quote about how arms control has got to be a little bit painful, Amb. Brooks had some interesting things to say about the so-called START bridging agreement. He stated that while its a “complication,” he wasn’t too worried about the gap between the expiration of START I (on December 5) and entry into force of New START because he could think of 4 or 5 perfectly legitimate ways in international law to bridge the gap. Presumably one of these options could be to simply extend some of START I’s verification, monitoring, and inspection provisions for a short period. I suggested in my interview with Page that the two sides would be more likely to provisionally adhere to whatever new treaty they negotiate because the U.S. and particularly Russia find many of START I’s provisions cumbersome and obsolete (for example, U.S. inspectors appear to be on their way out of Votkinsk; Pavel Podvig has some additional thoughts on provisional adherence here). Still, don’t be surprised if the two sides are in fact looking into extending some of START I’s still appealing provisions to bridge the gap. Stay tuned.