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  • Guest Blogger: Will START Treaty Weaken U.S. Missile Defense? Senator Kerry Seems to Hope So

    At today’s Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the START Treaty (a U.S.-Russia nuclear arms pact) that President Obama is seeking Congressional approval for, I asked Senator Kerry a simple question. Should it be the goal of the U.S. to have a missile defense system that renders nuclear threats by other nations useless, including Russia? To my disappointment, but not surprisingly, Senator Kerry said no.

    And with his response, Senator Kerry proved why Americans have a hard time fully trusting the left to put American interests first in foreign affairs. While the goal of reducing global levels of nuclear weapons is noble, it cannot take priority over our duty to protect Americans.

    It seems the goal of this administration and liberals in Congress is to condition American security into parity with Russia, which makes no sense. Russia and the U.S. are not equal, we have different roles in the world. America is a protector of many nations and a threat to none, while Russia is a threat to many nations and a protector of none.

    President Reagan fought to achieve peace through strength. And in doing so he led the U.S. to win the Cold War and put in place the beginnings of groundbreaking missile defense technology to protect our nation from rising threats. And ever since, the left has sought to stop, block, and defund our critical missile defenses that are continually proving to be successful and necessary.

    Now, President Obama’s administration and this liberal Congress are trying to push through a new arms reduction treaty which seeks to lower the number of strategic nuclear weapons in both nations. However, it states clearly in its preamble that U.S. missile defenses will be linked to offensive weapons. And Russia has stated clearly that they will walk away from the treaty if the U.S. continues to build up our missile defenses around the world that protect Americans and our allies.

    When Secretary Clinton was asked to provide the full treaty negotiating record to Senators, for full transparency of U.S. compromises, Secretary Clinton refused, stating that the treaty negotiating record had not been provided all the way back to President Washington. Senator Kerry corrected her testimony, pointing out that the full negotiating record had been provided to the committee as recently as the INF Treaty under President Reagan.

    The U.S. should not sign a treaty that weakens our ability to protect Americans and our allies from nuclear weapons. While our missile defense systems are currently engineered to deter threats from rogue nations like Iran and Syria, our goal should be to continue to improve and expand those defenses to protect our people from any nuclear threats.

    As President Reagan said when addressing the nation in 1983 on the proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (which would later be known as “Star Wars”),

    “I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering those nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Guest Blogger: Will START Treaty Weaken U.S. Missile Defense? Senator Kerry Seems to Hope So

    1. G-Man, Chesapeake, V says:

      There can be no moral equivalency made between Russia, where the former Soviets congregated after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and freedom loving America. Generally speaking, because of the Christian values that this country was founded upon the case can be made from our founding and history that America places a high/er value on HUMAN LIFE than the Russians. (Even though you can cite examples [E.g. Roe v. Wade] where America has gone astray, but in this example by an activist Court…I digress.)

      Because of the value that is placed on human life in America it is this blogger's opinion that we are more trusted to possess nuclear weapons today than Russia where contained in the historical record one can point to genocide (I.e. Stalin) comparable, even greater, than the Holocaust. I can hear the liberal-progressives now, "but America is the only ones ever to employ nuclear weapons in war!" I know that, but it is nearly inarguable that in the end the result was the saving of lives; both of the Japanese people – and – American fighting men!

      Senator Kerry is a national embarrassment, and his views are dangerous to America!

      Hoo-yah America,

      G-Man

      Chesapeake, VA

    2. Pingback: Video: John Kerry says Missile Defense to Protect America is not important

    3. Mark, OK says:

      Two problems with these points.

      1) The kind of missile defense you're proposing is, with today's technology, absolutely impossible. Even if we deployed a system that had 90% effectiveness against Russian ICBMs (which is far, far beyond the best effectiveness shown today), and even if Russia only had 1,000 warheads on missiles (disregarding the fact that if we deployed such a system, they would certainly build up), that's still 100 nuclear warheads getting through – enough to absolutely devastate our country. We don't pursue this kind of missile shield because we cannot build it with today's technology, or with technology we are anywhere near possessing.

      2) Were we to deploy such a system, the Russians would simply produce more missiles to overwhelm it, and equip their missiles with countermeasures such as decoy warheads. Increasing the arsenal and developing countermeasures is much cheaper than improving the missile defense system, and we would have to spend unbelievable amounts of money just to keep up. And at the end of the day, we'd be left with nuclear arsenals back up at Cold War levels, a hostile relationship with Russia, and massive new defense expenditures. Does that really sound like a policy worth pursuing?

      Senator Kerry and Secretary Gates are correct in stating that we don't seek to neutralize Russian capabilities with missile defense for very good reasons, and it would be unwise to dismiss them so quickly.

    4. Alan Grotheer, Brook says:

      I wonder where Senator DeMint expects to find the money to pay for this? Spending money recklessly on non-critical missile defense programs is most definitely "dangerous to America"!

    5. Pingback: Wonk Room » Kerry and Gates Debunk DeMint On Nuclear Deterrence And Missile Defense

    6. Josh, OR says:

      Senator DeMint does not expect to find the money to pay for his new interpretation of missile defense (an interpretation he must have been to shy to share with other republicans when they held the executive for eight years since he never offered this criticism until now). The Senator does not expect to find the money because he knows it would be a colossal waste even if it could be collected. The comment by Mark from OK above is correct. Anybody trying to sell you a complete missile shield hardly has your best interests in mind – though it does sound wonderfully patriotic doesn't it? Senator DeMint is grasping for ways to call the president weak on foreign policy hoping few will read past the headline and think about what he's actually saying. What makes Senator DeMint contemptible is that he knows all this but he is happy to feed the trolls anyway. This kind of pandering is certainly not unique to the right but today I am feeling especially tired of politicians wrapping these turds in the flag pretending to be better Americans for it.

    7. Pingback: Today in Washington - May 19, 2010 | RedState

    8. Pingback: Will START Treaty Weaken U.S. Missile Defense? | DefendDeterrence.com

    9. Pingback: 33 Minutes

    10. Sam Beer, Angelica N says:

      What Reagan understood about nuclear weapons remains an enigma. However, current Senators should understand that decades of effort and billions of dollars have not realized Reagan's vision of shielding American civilians. Our anti-missile missiles have a fair to poor probability of destroying even a single incoming warhead. Senator DeMint is inappropriately uninformed on this issue, or else he is merely engaging in personal attacks and incivility. In either case, he merits no space on this blog.

    11. Silhouette, the web says:

      Such a brainwashing lie

    12. Anatoly, Russia says:

      > we are more trusted to possess nuclear weapons today than Russia

      Hey, G-pot-man, so what about Hirosima, Nagasaki, Iraq, Afganistan, Serbia, Grenada, Panama and other small forgotten places… you bomb out.

      > There can be no moral equivalency made between Russia, where the former Soviets congregated after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and freedom loving America.

      This is true, but not that meaning you believe. Russia 1200 years old state, who you are, what you are ? Every rival, Russia had had, was ruined and forgotten.

      Sweden, Poland, French, German, Japan, England…..

      Russia is truly god blessed country, not America…

      IMHO

    13. Steve, Sydney, Austr says:

      This is misunderstanding. There is nothing in the treaty that restricts missile defense with exception on prohibition on converting old silos that US doesn't intend to do anyway. Let's say US decides to deploy 100 interceptors, and in Russian view it will be too much. They will notify US and leave the treaty in 6 months as both parties to the treaty are entitled to do. So in 6 months time the treaty will cease to exist, inspections will stop, and both sides will be free to deploy extra an submarines or whatever. What will happen without the treaty? Pretty much the same thing.

    14. John Salisbury says:

      I find your opinion woefully ignorant and deceptive, Sir. Anti-missile technology has never and likely will never be efficient enough to stop the thousands of missiles posessed by Russia. To even attempt to create such a system would be destabilizing. It encourages an overwhelming and massive first-strike attempt, and Russia posesses enough weapons to make that attempt. Such a system encourages the mind-set of first-strike.

      Your position is hypocritical and ignores the history between the United States and Russia since the days of Ronald Reagan. Nuclear war between our nations is extremely unlikely and cannot be defended against. It can only be prevented from starting.

      Grow up, Sir, and start playing well with the other kids in that great sandbox we call the Senate.

    15. Anton, Russia says:

      It is clear that senator DeMint simply lobbying for the interests of some corporations, which will be engaged in manufacture of anti-missile systems. These corporations always need enemies and always in need of war. Production of weapons to kill people – their main interest at which they make money.

      The crisis is now, and they urgently need new money.

    16. G-Man, Chesapeake, V says:

      Like the lame-stream media, Senator Kerry lost his credibility long ago. Namely, Senator Kerry lost his credibility when he over-hyped his service in Vietnam during his run for the presidency (just one of many examples that could be cited). This doesn't go well with Veterans. In this video Senator Kerry seems to be supportive of a dangerous, weak posture on American national defense.

      As to the funding of an anti-ballistic missile defense systems: I would encourage Senator DeMint to look at championing legislation that de-funds the enslaving social programs that are a drain on our financial system, then redirect those funds to strengthening our defenses, so we can all continue to enjoy the liberty and freedom we currently enjoy. By the way, you can tell that the deployment of such a system in Poland (as planned by the previous Administration) would be effective as evidenced by the reaction the former Soviets had to such a deployment.

      As to the ability of anti-ballistic missile defense effectiveness: current systems under test have shown the ability to knock down missiles! I point to recent (successful) maritime tests conducted. The same technology certainly exists for deployable land-based anti-ballistic missile defense systems, and just because we can't knock all missiles down doesn't mean we shouldn't try to knock some down. Besides, the ones that get knocked down may be ones that were headed for your home town.

      Anton from Russia! Please! Neither you nor your country is in a position to lecture America because it wants to protect itself against a country with a terrible human rights history like yours. We like our freedom – we fought for it, and we plan to protect it!

      You liberal-progressives don't seem to have a grasp on how dangerous this world really is. Your weak Blog Post responses to this article demonstrates a dangerous, weak naivety.

    17. Alex, Atlanta says:

      I would suggest that Senator's remarks are not in keeping with conservative values nor are they well thought out.

      As expressed earlier in other comments, the cost of such a system that would defend against a Soviet type "mutually assured destruction" launch would be ludicrous. I do not want to say impossible, but surely there are other more cost effective ways to dealing with the threat.

      In addition, the Senator does not appear to be a good student of military history and strategy. Nuclear deterrence served us well during the Cold War. To revise that strategy would create more instability in the world rather than safety for the US. I believe those were the same thoughts of Secretary of Defense Gates who made the statement at the hearing with Sen. Kerry.

      “Our goal should be to continue to improve and expand those defenses to protect our people from any nuclear threats.”

      The above quote is a laudable goal, but if money is to be spent on the nuclear defense of the nation, it should be directed at the more probable threats. It should be spent on nuclear non-proliferation efforts and intelligence so no dirty bomb can enter our borders—not some Reagan-era Star Wars defense.

      I believe this treaty makes us safer. This is one area where Democrats have a stronger position and argument than Republicans and the Republicans are making themselves look foolish. It only strengthens the influence of the Tea Party folks.

    18. James, West Columbia says:

      As a constituent of Senator DeMint I am disappointed with his service yet again. It is as if he just woke up and realized what this treaty was about. The missle defense system in question is well rooted in the Bush administration and has been described over and over as a defense against rogue nations such as Iran not Russia. It's almost as if Senator DeMint didn't bother to read or pay attention to any of the treaty until the hearing started. And just how would a "true fiscal conservative republican" expect to pay for everything he proposes? Even if you agree with him that a defense system is needed for Russian missles, isn't a defense system for Iranian missles also as important? and more needed for American security?

      This is just another reason I will be voting against Senator DeMint next election. The only time I ever hear from him is on the news pointing fingers at everyone else and never about what HE is doing to help America and his constituents.

    19. Jack, New York says:

      It is impressive to see that so many readers of this blog understand the geopolitics behind missile defense, and depressing that the Senator is either ignorant or so eager to use fearmongering to score political points.

      As Bush and Condoleeza Rice understood, missile defense might work against the limited threat from a crazy dictatorship — Iran and N. Korea being the obvious ones. But as so many readers have pointed out, it is technologically infeasible to defend against Russia's thousand-plus ICBMs. It's also undesirable: MAD has worked for nearly half a century, during times in which the Russians were more hostile than they are today. To spend hundreds of billions, and perhaps trillions of dollars to destabilize the existing relationship is foolish and dangerous. If DeMint represents his party's thinking, anyone wishing for a Republican takeover of Congress should keep this in mind: The cure might be worse than the disease.

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