A Senate Summer Reading List

After setting September 15 as the date for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the New START nuclear reductions agreement with Russia, Chairman John Kerry wrote in a letter to his colleagues. “The coming six weeks,” Kerry said, “will provide members ample opportunity to review the materials related to New START.”

It’s not To Kill a Mockingbird, but here are the top five items that should be on each Senator’s reading list to prepare for a floor vote after August recess.

Of course, senators should read the treaty itself. It’s only 17 pages, as it builds on the treaty and verification procedures established by President Ronald Reagan’s original START treaty from 1989.

The sharpest criticism of the treaty comes from the briefs and blogs produced by the Heritage Foundation. A good depository of pro-START materials can be found at the Arms Control Association.

Finally, if you’re tired of all the reading, or just want the Cliff Notes version, go see the new documentary on the nuclear threat, Countdown to Zero, playing around the country this August.

Don’t get too much sun, never swim alone, and come back safe and sound, ready for the historic vote on the treaty next month.

Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund. Elise Connor is a research assistant.