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  • Senators Should Listen Up to John Bolton's START Smarts

    Ambassador John Bolton’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history of arms control deserves the respect of all senators, who in all likelihood will be asked to consider granting consent to the ratification of the NEW START arms control agreement with Russia later this year. By paying close attention to the details of this long and complex arms control treaty with Russia for reducing strategic nuclear launchers, delivery systems and warheads, Bolton is raising very important and disturbing questions about NEW START and its negative implications for U.S. national security in a forthcoming article for National Review.

    He points out that New START’s underlying assumption that there needs to be symmetry between the U.S. and Russia regarding the number of strategic nuclear warheads on both sides is dangerous because the U.S. has international security obligations and commitments that far exceed Russia’s. He also understands that Russia may be on the cusp of a rebound in the quality of its strategic nuclear force, while the U.S. is on a path of steady decline. Finally, Bolton points out that the verification provisions of the treaty, being scaled back from what was contained in the expired arms control treaty New START is to replace, may not be adequate.

    New START, as Bolton points out, also imposes limits on U.S. missile defense options. This is despite repeated Administration promises to the contrary. Language in the preamble to the agreement commits the U.S. to applying a logic that will dictate a reduction in overall U.S. missile defense capabilities that corresponds to the reduction in Russian strategic nuclear forces. Under President Obama’s commitment to nuclear disarmament in the long term, this logic transforms into the illogic of reducing U.S. missile defense capabilities to zero in order to preserve the viability of a Russian strategic nuclear force that theoretically would no longer exist.

    In the end, New START is about the U.S. reducing its strategic nuclear force to preserve parity with a struggling Russia, specifically in the absence of any significant defensive capabilities. Bolton’s analysis, however, makes it difficult to avoid concluding that the Obama Administration is already quietly positioning itself to abandon the principle of parity with Russia in a context where the U.S. will simply decide not to keep up. From this perspective, the Obama Administration will opt for a policy of minimum deterrence in the future, as recommended by the Federation of American Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2009. Nevertheless, it is to be expected that it will attempt to hide its minimum deterrence agenda from the Senate during the ratification debate on New START. Accordingly, it will be only be following New START ratification that the Senate will start to hear arguments from the Obama Administration that the U.S. has no need to maintain strategic nuclear parity with Russia or some broader combination of nuclear-armed nations that could confront the U.S. Ambassador Bolton sees the emerging transition from U.S. strategic superiority, to parity with Russia under New START and ultimately to inferiority toward Russia or some combination of nuclear-armed powers. It is regarding this transition where the Senate needs to focus its attention prior to the ratification of New START.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Senators Should Listen Up to John Bolton's START Smarts

    1. Dennis Social Circle says:

      It looks like obama will give up the whole ship. America is going down the tubes if we do not take controll of the "guvmnet" in November. I am sick of the way this country is going, people all voice their concerns over the mess we are in, yet when it comes time to vote they all have "reasons" why they did not. WAKE UP PEOPLE, THE TIME FOR ACTION TO STOP THE WHOLESALE SELLING OF AMERICA IS NOVEMBER 2010. VOTE!!!!

    2. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Don't you get it yet? Every Dem. Senator will not listen to John Bolten, or anyone else that is speaking for the benefit of this country. They listen only to Obama because, like Obama, they are interested only in the downfall of this

      country and our American way of life.

    3. Jason says:

      John Bolton is correct in his assessment of the very dismal aspects of this treaty. Again, we can see this overall pattern of the Obama administration portraying this "greater good" goal that ultimately will weaken America's influence, military and sovereignty. Our enemies are constantly watching for weakness and they will take advantage of it one way or another.

    4. TJS, FL says:

      Obama's policy is national decline. That spirit pervades his administration. Democrats are also reactionary, taking the opposite stance from Republicans.

      This will make it all the easier to oust them in November. For all the poor dears who still believe in Democrats, this is another straw added to the camel's back. If you love America, or simply like it, nothing Democrats do makes any sense.

    5. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Having read the link to the Federation of American Scientists……….it is clear to me that their thinking is unilateral. This posting – obviously read by the Russians and others, clearly states the strategy proposed by this group (now embraced by Obama). Unfortunately there appears to be a lack of links to the enemies strategy about their intent. So, the Kool Aid drinkers are very cerebral about strategy but don't have a clue about the other side. Personally – I don't trust any of them; actions speak louder than words.

    6. Tigran K. says:

      Enough looking at Russia as an enemy, Obama is right and if we continue as Bush we might as well get into second cold war. Russia is not Soviet Union and has no beef with us, they want to cooperate, learn and be friendly on equal terms. There is no more communist ideology and if we look at the history for last 150 years starting with alaska giveaway, we have benefited more than lost in our relationship with Russia. We and Russians have much too gain from cooperation, it's just natural at this world stage. Just think really think why be enemies with Russia.

    7. wesley ca says:

      GOD SAVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What happed to we will stand in the defence of liberty at any price.

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