The choice is clear: a failure to ratify New START would be a dangerous gamble with America’s national security, setting back our understanding of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as our leadership in the world. That is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do.
Nukes are one of those things that shouldn’t be gamed by either party. President Obama reminds Republicans, that Ronald Reagan knew the value of the treaty. But in those days, President Reagan was just as eager to put the pedal to the metal in the arms build up race, as he was to transform SALT (Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty) to START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). Makes you wonder if his game plan was to get the nuke race going, bankrupt the USSR, forcing the leadership to come to the table for a new deal. Some subscribers to this blog may want to respond to that from another perspective.
That said, START is the Gipper’s baby. As someone who knew Republicans from the Reagan era, I have to say, I don’t recognize the GOP as the party of their anointed one. “Party poopers” perhaps? The goal of the new “Party of No” appears to be to stall, dilute, and defeat any and all initiatives of the sitting President, until they can have one of their own back in the White House.
In the current state of affairs, this negotiation with Russia on START is only part of a broader discussion on Afghanistan and Iran.
The Treaty also helped us reset our relations with Russia, which led to concrete benefits. For instance, Russia has been indispensable to our efforts to enforce strong sanctions on Iran, to secure loose nuclear material from terrorists, and to equip our troops in Afghanistan.
All of this will be put to risk if the Senate does not pass the New START Treaty.
START is one of those things that shouldn’t be interpreted as a boost for the President or his party. None of these treaties are perfect with their grocery lists of missile defense systems. No nukes would be the best and most decent of all worlds. But we have to start somewhere.
Transcript available here.