Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

There are 4 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties, START I signed on 31 July 1991, START II signed on 3 January 1993, START III which was never signed (but instead of START III was signed SORT) and New START signed on 8 April 2010.

All those treaties are aimed at limitation and reduction of the amount of nuclear weapons and of the missiles and bombers that is possible to use to deliver such weapons.

The negotiations to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons begun in 1970s between the United States and Soviet Union. The reason for those talks was the fact, that use of the nuclear weapon by one state would definitely cause nuclear war, which would be able even to destroy our civilization.

In 1982 the American president Ronald Reagan started to call those negotiations START and he submitted huge reductions of the nuclear arsenal. However, in 1983, the Soviet Union stopped their attendance in the talks to show their dissent with the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe: The United States deployed the Pershing II and the Tomahawks in response to the installation of new Soviet intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable to reach Western Europe.

The incident was settled down when the Soviet Union accepted the proposal of United States to eliminate the superpowers’ intermediate-range missiles and their shorter-range missiles as well. As the result of this settlement was signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) in in Washington, D.C. on 8 December 1987 by the American president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1985 the Soviet Union started to negotiate the START again and in 1991 the treaty was signed by the American president George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. However, shortly after the signing the Soviet Union broke up. There were four succeeding countries disposing of nuclear weapons: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia. Under the Lisbon Protocol signed in May 1922 all those countries became parties of treaty START I.

According to the treaty each state could inspect another one in order to check if they observe the treaty. Belarus and Kazakhstan destroyed all their nuclear weapons until 1997, Ukraine until 1999. Both United States and Russia reached the required maximum amount of nuclear weapons by the treaty in 2001.

START I expired in 2009. After signing START I in 1991, both superpowers agreed that i tis necessary to go on with the negotiations in order to reach further reductions. The outcome of the negotiations was START II, signed on 3 January 1993 by American president George H.W. Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Unfortunately it never came into force due to problems with ratification in both states.

The START III negotiations were conducted between American president Bill Clinton and Russian president Boris Yeltsin. They intended deeper reductions than in last treaties. During the talks the name of the treaty was changed to Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, abbreviation SORT. Sort was signed on 24 May 2002 by the American president George W. Bush and Russian president Vladimir Putin. Unlike START II, SORT was ratified and came into force in 2003.

START I expired in 2009 and it was necessary to replace it, therefore American president Barack Obama and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed New START on 8 April 2010. It was ratified in both countries and came into force. Nevertheless, the negotiations were quite complicated due to the American occupation of Iraq in 2003 and Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008.