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  • Missile Defense Criticism of Sen. DeMint is Off Target

    The Obama Administration has stated on numerous occasions that there is “no way, no how” the New START treaty, a nuclear arms control agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States, will limit U.S. ballistic missile defense options. However, ongoing exchanges of opinions on this question show that the issue is far from clear.

    Reporter Josh Rogin, in his recent critique of an amendment that Senator Jim DeMint (R–SC) offered to the resolution of ratification for New START in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) disparages the Senator’s effort. DeMint also offered a similar amendment to the defense authorization bill for the FY2011. Rogin’s criticism is, at its core, based on a single, fallacious argument: If you can’t defend against every possible missile that could target America, why even bother? Rogin’s critique also implies that some proponents of New START want to limit missile defense. 

    Even if Rogin doesn’t understand why we should make sure we are able, under New START, to deploy the best missile defenses possible, the SFRC obviously does. That’s why it included a modified version of the amendment in its resolution of ratification by voice vote backed by Senator Jim Webb (D–VA), Senator Bob Corker (R–TN) and others.

    As it stands, New START does little to ensure that the United States and Russia are able to protect and defend the people, territory, infrastructure, and institutions of both countries, and of their respective allies. Both amendments attempted to fix this flaw. The version of the amendment adopted by the committee states that a paramount obligation of the U.S. government is to provide for the defense of the American people, its forward-deployed troops, and U.S. allies. Moreover, it states that arms control policies based on the theory of mutual assured destruction (MAD) can be contrary to the safety and security of both the U.S. and Russia.

    The adopted amendment also identifies missile defenses as a critical means to reducing U.S. vulnerability to current and future ballistic missile threats, and it commits the United States to improving its strategic defensive capabilities both qualitatively and quantitatively. Furthermore, it welcomes steps by the Russian Federation to move away from a Cold War-style adversarial relationship and to adopt fundamentally defensive postures. Finally, the SFRC amendment invites cooperation on missile defenses as long as such cooperation is aimed at fostering America’s defensive capabilities.

    The United States needs the ability to protect itself from ballistic missile attacks from any source, including Russia. None of the amendments focus on Russia alone as a possible threat; rather, each recognizes the current strategic landscape, with independent and emerging nuclear threats to the U.S. homeland and U.S. allies, as demanding of a new concept of strategic deterrence. Any missile defense system deployed in the U.S. to shoot down an Iranian or North Korean long-range ballistic missile would also have some capability to shoot down a Russian ballistic missile. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deploy those defenses. The government’s primary constitutional obligation is to “provide for the common defence.” Senator DeMint’s amendments, including the one adopted by the SFRC, serve to bolster the national security of the United States.

    Co-authored by Owen Graham and Michaela Bendikova

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Missile Defense Criticism of Sen. DeMint is Off Target

    1. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      Come on Republicans don't look to close at the New Start Treaty just ratify it. Oh you are bringing up valid concerns, well then you are an extremist.

      Mind you whether it is arms control or any liberal policy this is the Democrat/Main Stream Media playbook. Don't agree with anything we say you are a radical extremist.

    2. Kurwastan, DC says:

      You are shooting the messenger. Rogin's criticism is not the problem.

      By linking Russia to missile defense, DeMint is completely undermining the original intent of the BMD program — to protect Europe and America from missiles from Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration was careful not to link BMD with Russia — for a good reason because the number of Russian missiles would overwhelm any missile defense system. DeMint and HF know this, but ignore this fact.

      It is only in the past year that DeMint — and now HF — openly admit that "the United States needs the ability to protect itself from ballistic missile attacks from any source, including Russia." Challenging the idea that America can and should defend against every possible missile that could target America is not "fallacious" — it is based on economic and political reality.

      The Tea Party is begging the Republican establishment to stop spending. So far, conservatives have been clever by supporting "national security" without mentioning particular costs of such programs to taxpayers. Go outside the Beltway — I guarantee that taxpayer support for an expensive global missile defense system is low. The irony is that DeMint, the Tea Party doyen, advocates such a plan. By focusing only on Obamacare, stimulus, etc. and ignoring runaway "national security" spending, Republicans risk compromising their positions as anti-spending conservatives in the long run. In good faith, DeMint and HF need to explain the real costs involved with defending America against every possible existential missile threat rather than brush this concern off as "fallacious."

      Finally, DeMint in his Senate testimony said "Soviet Union" when he meant the "Russian Federation." This is an embarrassment and an insult to our intelligence. But in an election year, the bogeyman from 1983 is needed to shore up an otherwise ill conceived foreign policy.

    3. Dennis Georgia says:

      This is something with john karey's name on it. It can not be for the good of this country, or our allies. After all he only supports those we fight, just like he did during Vietnam, all of us were guilty of war crimes. It is ok to lie about the fighting men and women, to accuse them of all things, to buy medals through political channels, because they look good when running for office, as well as trying to not pay taxes on his 7 million dollar boat. Typiclal member of Congress on the dem side . It is to bad the rest of the American citizens do not enjoy the privilidges of the elite.

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    5. Mark, OK says:

      Dead on, Kurwastan. Anyone with even the barest knowledge of the technical realities of missile defense knows that a system that could shoot down thousands of targets is completely impossible given current technology. And any attempt to build one would only lead to a renewed arms race and billions in wasted defense expenditures.

    6. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      Actually Kurwastan you take a poll of middle America away from DC and the left coast and you have very high support for missile defense as well you have a high percentage of people supporting a robust nuclear deterrent who feel we have cut far enough.

      Seeing that you are saying you are from DC maybe you should go visit the heartland once in awhile and put down the NYT and Washington Post.

    7. Kurwastan, DC says:

      I was born and educated in the Midwest. How is this ad hominem relevant to the discussion?

    8. Pingback: 33 Minutes

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