What happened to fiscal conservatism and national security — the two (supposed) central tenets of the Republican Party? There is something seriously misguided about believing that adding to the deficit to increase the stockpile of weapons is a more efficient way of strengthening national security than an enforceable agreement with your rival to not stockpile weapons at all (or at least less of them).
President Obama’s hopes of ratifying a new arms control treaty with Russia by the end of the year appeared to come undone on Tuesday as the chief Senate Republican negotiator moved to block a vote on the pact, one of the White House’s top foreign policy goals, in the lame-duck session of Congress.
The announcement by the senator, Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican point man on the issue, blindsided and angered the White House, which vowed to keep pressing for approval of the so-called New Start treaty. But the White House strategy had hinged entirely on winning over Mr. Kyl, and Democrats, who began scrambling for a backup plan, said they considered the chances of success slim.
Winning approval of the treaty will only become harder for the White House next year, when Democrats will have six fewer seats in the Senate, forcing the administration to rely on additional Republican votes to reach the 67 needed for ratification.
The treaty, which would force both countries to pare back nuclear arsenals and resume mutual inspections that lapsed last year for the first time since the cold war, is the centerpiece of two of Mr. Obama’s signature goals: restoring friendly relations with Russia and putting the world on a path toward eventually eliminating nuclear arms. A failure to ratify the treaty could freeze both efforts and, some analysts said, undermine Mr. Obama’s credibility on the world stage.
“Failure to pass the New Start treaty this year would endanger our national security,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has led negotiations with Mr. Kyl, said in a statement. It would mean “no verification regime to track Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal,” Mr. Biden said, and would sour a relationship that has helped open a new supply route to troops in Afghanistan and increase pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program.
- “GOP Threatens National Security By Stalling Nuclear Arms Treaty With Russia” and related posts (nyulocal.com)
- Clinton: Arms treaty cannot be postponed (thehill.com)
- Never give up – Reid promises ‘time’ for START (politico.com)
- GOP Blocks START Treaty (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Obama battles to save landmark treaty with Russia (alternet.org)