START was first signed in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, largely as a response to the public pressure of the nuclear Freeze campaign (which with SANE later gave birth to Peace Action). START laid the groundwork for nuclear arms reductions goals between the US and USSR, and now Russia. START expires December 5, 2009, and needs to be replaced or extended, providing another opportunity for the peace movement to press world leaders on nuclear disarmament. While START is limited to only Russia and the US, between them the two nations possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons and have a special responsibility to lead on global nuclear disarmament.
It's predicted that a new treaty would limit each nation to no more than 1,500 warheads. Already progress is being made as meetings begin this month and Secretary of State Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov are productive discussions to renew the START (as of May 7th 2009). The negotiations between the US and Russia on START provide an important building block to better diplomatic relationships between the two nations, in turn facilitating broader global disarmament agreements and better relations between the US and Iran. The success of START depends not only on the negotiations between the two states, but also support in the Senate to ratify the new treaty that is developed or extend the current one. Like the CTBT, Peace Action will continue to put pressure on Congress and President Obama through lobbying, grassroots activism and public education, to help support strong nuclear disarmament treaties.