Perturbation theory, simulations and scaling arguments predict that there should be no static friction for two weakly interacting flat atomically smooth clean solid surfaces. The absence of static friction results from the fact that the atomic level interfacial potential energy is much weaker than the elastic potential energy, which prevents the atoms from sinking to their interfacial potential minima. Consequently, we have essentially two rigid solids, for which the forces at randomly distributed "pinning sites" cancel. It is shown here that even fluctuations in the concentration of atomic level defects at the interface do not account for static friction. It is also argued that the sliding of contacting asperities, which occurs when the problem is studied at the multi-micron length scale, relative to each other involves the shearing of planes of atoms. Since this results in a force for the interaction of two asperities which varies over sliding distances of the order of an atomic spacing, the contacting asperities at the surface are able to sink to their interfacial potential minima, with negligible cost in elastic potential energy. This results in static friction.