The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2021 77 In Her Own Words Negotiating the New START Treaty Rose Gottemoeller, Cambria Press, 2021, $39.99/paperback, e-book available, 244 pages. Reviewed by Laura Kennedy This rare account of a treaty negotia- tion, told from “start” to ratification, comes from the negotiator herself. Rose Gottemoeller gives us a unique window on the only bilateral U.S.-Russian arms control agreement still in force. Whether one is an arms control specialist, a gen- eralist diplomat or an international rela- tions scholar, Negotiating the New START Treaty is an invaluable case study in the art of negotiation with relevance for the years ahead. The book raises the question as to whether the United States in its current political circumstances should realisti- cally invest much capital in treaties requiring ratification. U.S. presidents increasingly resort to executive agree- ment rather than pursuing treaties (at last glance, State’s Office of Treaty Affairs lists 37 languishing in the Senate, some for many years). Gottemoeller’s account of the grueling ratification process is as absorbing as that of the negotiation itself, and showcases the increasing difficulty in gaining Senate advice and consent. In addition to multi- ple testimonies and meetings on Capitol Hill, a thousand separate questions were answered by the New START team. The role of various senators is cov- ered—from treaty supporter and “trail boss” Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who bargained for a trillion- dollar-plus nuclear modernization and still voted no, and John McCain (R-Ariz.), who reportedly voted against New START because he was angry over President Obama’s policy on gays in the military. While Negotiat- ing the New START Treaty is the ultimate blow-by-blow account of arms control, it is refreshingly free of obscure technical detail that could easily turn off the nonspecialist. Gottemoeller, who went on to become under secretary of State for arms control and international security and NATO deputy secretary gen- eral, takes pains at every step to sum up the issues and make them accessible to the general reader, who is sure to appreci- ate both the author’s lucid expository style as well as her glossary of terms. What makes this story so valuable is the way that this careerlong national security and Russia expert grounds the New START issues in the wider context of recent history and, equally important, links this treaty to future arms control prospects. As is abundantly clear from her writing, Gottemoeller knows her arms control, and she knows how to read her interlocutors—preeminently her Russian counterpart, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov. An often difficult and always shrewd and tough negotiator, he subsequently became a Russian deputy minister of defense and is currently Rus- sia’s ambassador to the United States. Getting to yes was an extraordinary feat. Gottemoeller describes how these complex talks were compressed to a year (the original START treaty took six years to negotiate) and required both delega- tions to submit to a punishing work schedule. (At one point, the exhausted Russian delegation simply refused to work until given a break in Moscow, but a volcanic eruption in Iceland closed European airports, thus forcing them to continue work in Geneva.) Despite the pace, progress was never fast enough for an impatient U.S. National Security Council and White House. For a Washington insider’s account, this book is almost startlingly free of com- plaints, snark or self-promotion. (Rarely has diplomacy seen a chief negotiator more willing to give credit to others!) The cast of characters is wide-ranging and includes Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev (with then–Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lurking in the background and nearly blowing up the negotiation at one point). Yet Gottemoeller doesn’t trade in gos- sip or dwell on personality quirks of her principals, but focuses instead on their skills and experience. In this regard, her description of the positive roles played by then–Vice President Joe Biden and adviser Brian McKeon is illuminating. For those interested in diplomacy, the author provides a primer on how to manage a delegation, how to deal with the backbiting fromWashington, and how to build political and public support for a treaty. This book makes essential reading for a diplomat—or any budding negotiator. Gottemoeller’s matter-of-fact style vividly captures the intensity of the New START effort, including low points such as being dressed down by Washington. Yet, she always circles back to her trade- mark capacity to focus on the positive and the enormous stakes involved in reducing and stabilizing these most exis- tential threats. Of particular value are the “lessons learned,” in which she lays out what worked, and what didn’t, to sum up her blessedly concise history (in con- trast to many diplomatic doorstops, BOOKS