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  • Essential Issues Must Be Addressed Before New START Is Taken Up in the Senate

    There are three essential things that the Administration must commit to before the strategic arms control agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation (known as New START) is approved in the Senate, writes James Woolsey in The Wall Street Journal.

    Safeguarding the option to develop and deploy the most effective missile defenses possible is at the top of the list. Given the current multipolar nuclear landscape, the U.S. should be moving away from the Cold War retaliation-based deterrence policy and toward a more defensive strategic posture. Unfortunately, New START does nothing to facilitate this transition.

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted a resolution of ratification when it voted to report New START to the Senate. The resolution includes conditions, an understanding, and declarations that are designed to protect U.S. missile defense options against limitations that could be imposed by the treaty. While these provisions in the resolution are imperfect and may not be fully effective in protecting U.S. missile defense options, their inclusion serves as a testament to the fact that New START, either directly or indirectly, imposes restrictions on missile defense—something the Administration denied.

    Recent news reports suggest that the White House is trying to secure votes for ratification of New START during the short “lame duck” session of Congress by threatening to withhold vital funding for the aging nuclear program. This is reprehensible. Placing conditions on funding for the U.S. nuclear program is playing politics with our national security. The modernization of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal and infrastructure is more urgent than ever, as the incident at Warren Air Force Base on October 24 showed.

    During the incident, the United States Air Force lost communication with a squadron of 50 nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. The broad scale of this disruption resulted in one of the most serious and sizable ruptures in nuclear command and control in history. If money is needed, it should be provided without conditions. Period. Furthermore, the White House cannot make iron-clad guarantees on funding nuclear programs because Congress passes annual budgets.

    The Administration and proponents of the treaty are also arguing for a quick “lame duck” ratification by saying that the U.S. is in danger without New START, because without a verification regime it lacks insight into Russia’s nuclear forces. This is rather amazing, considering that Administration officials have insisted that Russia is not a threat.

    Moreover, the lack of verification measures, supporters of the treaty argue, is increasing instability and uncertainty between the two major nuclear powers. Yet this is the result of the Administration’s own actions. The White House did not move to take advantage of a five-year extension clause under START I and instead insisted on negotiating a separate agreement. At the time, the Administration justified its approach by saying that it was more important to get the treaty right rather than get the treaty soon.

    The Senate considered the original START for nearly a year. The Moscow Treaty, which was far less complex than New START, was before the Senate for nearly nine months. The Obama Administration took more than 12 months to negotiate New START but has sought approval from the Senate in less than five. The rush to ratify a flawed treaty undermines the important role of “advice and consent” that the Senate must exercise on any treaty of this magnitude.

    Co-authored by Michaela Bendikova.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Essential Issues Must Be Addressed Before New START Is Taken Up in the Senate

    1. Teddy, Oklahoma City says:

      Sen. Luger (R), Colin Powell along with 6 former Secretaries of State (both democrat and republican) agree with the Obama administration that expeditiously ratifying this treaty is in America's best interest.

      For the republican party to oppose the practice of "earmarks", Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) is playing the biggest, most dangerous earmark scheme in history by withholding support of the START treaty for the simple purpose of bringing billions of dollars to his home state under the guise of "nuclear modernization".

      The security of nuclear stock piles in Russia are at great risk of falling into the hands of radical, islamic extremist and because the republican party has failed to govern and refused to do the job they were elected to do, American inspectors have been unable to aid the Russians for almost an entire year. The actions, or lack there of, are endangering entire American cities; it only take one loose nuke to take out NYC, Washington D.C. or Phoenix, AZ.

      I appreciate the Heritage Foundation's courage to allow for this comment to be posted even though the facts contained within the comment stand in disagreement with the foundation's agenda.

    2. Pingback: 33 Minutes

    3. Wes in cincy says:

      We certainly should learn a very important lesson,

      Never elect a dove for president when you are in the middle of 2 wars.

      They don't know how to wage one.

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