Right now, a crucial battle is being waged in the U.S. Capitol. Senators are considering the New START treaty, an agreement between America and Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our two countries. The Senate must act quickly to ratify this agreement, and you must act, too. 

You can shape the Senate’s decision. To start, let your senators know how you feel through a phone call, letter, or e-mail. As Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., wrote in a local Michigan paper about the treaty, “When we have an opportunity to help make the people of Michigan, the United States and the world a little safer, we should jump at it. I believe that’s my obligation as a father and grandfather, let alone as a senator.” 

You can tell senators that, like Senator Levin, they have an obligation to keep America safe.

You can also let your community know why you believe the New START Treaty is in our national security interest.  A short letter to the editor has a good chance of being published. Then, ask your friends and family to write letters to the editor, too. Local editors will notice your community’s interest and may run more stories on the treaty. This will inspire others to take action.

Social media can also play a role. For instance, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—the Senate committee through which New START must pass before it can be ratified. You can write on Senator Corker’s Facebook wall here to let him know why he should vote yes on the New START treaty. Also, become a fan of New START on Facebook to get ideas and updates about how you can get involved.

I worked in Congress for 10 years. I know senators listen to their constituents—especially in large numbers. If I did not believe one person could make a difference in nuclear policy, I would have left this field long ago. But after 25 years as a nuclear policy expert, I know our voices can be heard, and we can influence the outcome of this important vote.

I am not alone. There are many individuals and organizations working to make the New START treaty the beginning of a 21st century nuclear security agenda. We can reduce nuclear arsenals, stop new countries from acquiring these deadly weapons and prevent nuclear terrorism. But we must start now.

For more information or for ways to get involved, please visit:

Or go see my short video on why we need to act now at Ploughshares:

Whatever security nuclear weapons may have provided during the Cold War is now outweighed by the real risks they pose to our nation. Nuclear weapons are a liability, not an asset. By working together with other nations, verifying the mutual drawdown of outdated arsenals, and guarding all nuclear weapon materials as securely as we guard the gold in Fort Knox, we make the world safer. The New START treaty is a crucial first step in creating a more secure future for our children, our country, and the world. 

Join me in making our voices heard. Let’s start something powerful.

About Joe Cirincione: Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund. He was senior vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress and director for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment.  The New York Review of Books said his book, Bomb Scare, “ought be read by everyone as a matter of life and death.”