Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stop It Before It START(s)

The “New START” Treaty, expected to come before the United States Senate very shortly, serves no useful national security purpose for the United States. More importantly it may fatally undermine the continued development and deployment of vitally needed missile defense systems.

The total failures of the Obama Administration to deter Iran and North Korea from proceeding with both their nuclear and missile development programs means the United States will become increasingly vulnerable to nuclear attack in the future. Thus a vibrant missile defense program is essential to Western security and should not be held hostage (as in New START) by allegedly making Russia’s strategic forces vulnerable

But in its misguided drive to “re-set” relations with an increasingly authoritarian regime in Russia, President Obama has proposed a largely politically motivated treaty that provides lopsided strategic benefits to Moscow. Russia will continue to upgrade its strategic forces while the United States would unilaterally retire some of our most potent weapons.

The entire treaty as written lacks sufficient verification procedures and turns the famous Reagan axiom on its head by, in effect, mandating that “we verify some, but mostly trust.”

Finally the attempt to rush the treaty through the final days of 111th Congress, during a lame duck session, precludes the careful deliberation a serious treaty deserves. Also, Senators should demand the negotiating documents to know what actually happened, and to make sure there are no other surprises.

The Senate’s role in the treaty-making process is vitally important. It is being seriously weakened if the START treaty is dealt with in a lame duck session. It also excludes from the process the newly elected Senators who will have the responsibility to carry out the terms of the treaty in the years ahead.

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