Asan Plenum

Elbridge Colby will speak about the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), on which he worked for the negotiating and ratification teams with the Department of Defense. He will emphasize that New START, contrary to much of the rhetoric surrounding the Treaty ratification debate, represents a basic continuity with traditional U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Colby will argue that New START comprised part of an overall package deal among key interests in the U.S. defense debate to reinvigorate arms control while making essential investments in the aging U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. The Treaty itself, moreover, was mainly an extension of the existing arms control framework of the expiring START I agreement, rather than a transformational initiative. The implication for “our nuclear future,” the theme of the Asan Institute conference, is that the historical two-track approach of the United States towards nuclear weapons policy ? on the one hand maintaining a strong and capable deterrent while pursuing practical arms control designed to minimize nuclear threats ? has been resuscitated. Colby will end on a skeptical note about the plausibility of future radical moves on the arms control front.