The New START treaty, which Russia's Federation Council ratified today, is a major step in resetting US-Russia relations, yet many major issues remain.
In many ways, 2010 is a year you may want to relegate to the filing cabinet quickly. It began with a massive earthquake in Haiti and wound down with North Korea once again being an enfant terrible – bizarrely trying to conduct diplomacy through brinkmanship. In between came Toyota recalls and egg scares, pat downs at airports and unyielding unemployment numbers, too little money in the Irish treasury and too many bedbugs in American sheets. Oil gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico for three months, mocking the best intentions of man and technology to stop it, while ash from a volcano in Iceland darkened Europe temporarily as much as its balance sheets. Yet not all was gloomy. The winter Olympics in Canada and the World Cup in South Africa dazzled with their displays of athletic prowess and national pride, becoming hearths around which the world gathered. In Switzerland, the world's largest atom smasher hurled two protons into each other at unfathomable speeds. Then came the year's most poignant moment – the heroic and improbable rescue of 33 miners from the clutches of the Chilean earth. There were many transitions, too – the return of the Republicans in Washington and the Tories in Britain, the scaling back of one war (Iraq) and the escalation of another (Afghanistan), the fall of some powers (Greece) and rise of others (China, Germany, Lady Gaga). To get the new year off to the right start, we decided to ask various thinkers for one idea each to make the world a better place in 2011. We plumbed poets and political figures, physicists and financiers, theologians and novelists. Some of the ideas are provocative, others quixotic. Some you will agree with, others you won't. But in the modest quest to stir a discussion – from academic salons to living rooms to government corridors – we offer these 25 ideas.
President Obama has scored huge victories — START, gays in the military — and huge losses. The difference? The GOP won't get behind anything that threatens the wealthy.
Russia's Medvedev lauds Obama for pushing New START through the Senate. North Korea is more subdued, ahead of US visit from China's Hu. Obama and Britain's Cameron, well, they still talk.
What's behind GOP opposition to START?
The New START treaty could be ratified in Russia as early as Friday. But many pitfalls remain amid the US-Russia attempt to move away from cold war constraints.
The outgoing 111th Congress is among the most productive in history, in spite of its reputation for gridlock and 13 percent approval rating. Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and used their large majorities to push through landmark legislation with barely any GOP support. The post-election lame-duck session – typically a mopping-up operation to get out of town – also made history, passing key pieces of legislation, often with greater input from Republicans than had earlier been the case. People can argue the merits of what Congress did, but it’s hard to quibble with the scope of the undertaking. Here are six of this Congress’s major accomplishments, in the order in which they were approved.
The Senate ratified the new START treaty by a vote of 71 to 26. But this could turn out to be the high-water mark in Obama’s efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
The Senate voted 67 to 28 Tuesday to move to a final vote on the new START treaty. Ratification would constitute a big political victory for a president who took a beating in the midterm elections.