Starting tonight, Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with Christmas Eve services and Saturday, Christmas Day, with observances. In the Christian tradition, Jesus Christ was a symbol of peace and forgiveness. Now 2,010 years later, the popular theme at this time remains the same -- a sincere wish for world peace.
The views are mixed this year, but we believe that the world is a little bit better place to live today, thanks to the actions of Congress on Wednesday. After much debate and consternation, the Senate approved the New START treaty designed to further reduce the nuclear arsenals of both the United States and Russia.
The treaty will limit the U.S. and Russia to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads each-- about a 30 percent reduction. It also calls for a reduction in intercontinental ballistic missiles and in the number of nuclear-capable bombers.
The treat has yet to be ratified by the Russian parliament, but that could come as soon as next week now that the United States has ratified it.
"This is the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades, and it will make us safer and reduce our nuclear arsenals along with Russia. With this treaty, our inspectors will also be back on the ground at Russian nuclear bases. So we will be able to trust but verify," President Barack Obama said during a Wednesday news conference.
Many Christmases ago, during the Cold War, Americans did not feel as safe as the former Soviet Union posed a serious threat to world peace under a policy known as mutual deterrence. While both the U.S. and Russia remain nuclear powers, the fear of nuclear attack is much diminished, and the New START treaty will lessen that fear even more.
Still, our globe is faced with many challenges before world peace can be attained.
Said Mr. Obama: "We'll continue to advance our relationship with Russia, which is essential to making progress on a host of challenges -- from enforcing strong sanctions on Iran to preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists. And this treaty will enhance our leadership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace of a world without them."
We have much to do to curb the potential spread of nuclear weapons to Iran, North Korea and terrorists. Still, we believe the world is a better place when New START is in place.
We do look forward to a time of world peace, and we use the celebration of Christ's birth each year to reaffirm what he stood for, and that He desired world peace as we do.