Time to Pass the New START Treaty in December 2010

Arms control lioness says: "Stop the party politics and pass the New START Treaty now which is in the interest of all Americans and improved national security." Photo Credit: Annoyed Lioness by ahisgett on flickr cc

Will the Democrats have the guts to bring this issue to a vote now before January 2011?

5 Former Republican Secretaries of State Say Pass New START Treaty

On December 2, 2010 Henry A. Kissinger, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker II, Lawrence S. Eagleburger and Colin L. Powell, all Republican former Secretaries of State, wrote an Op-Ed piece in The Washington Post calling for passage of the New START Treaty.

They co-wrote:

The commander of our nuclear forces has testified that the 1,550 warheads allowed under this treaty are sufficient for all our missions – and seven former nuclear commanders agree. The defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the head of the Missile Defense Agency – all originally appointed by a Republican president – argue that New START is essential for our national defense.

Whenever New START is brought up for debate, we encourage all senators to focus on national security. There are plenty of opportunities to battle on domestic political issues linked to the future of the American economy. With our country facing the dual threats of unemployment and a growing federal debt bomb, we anticipate significant conflict between Democrats and Republicans. It is, however, in the national interest to ratify New START.

Yet, why are Republican Senators stalling on passage of the New START Treaty?

Republican Senators must come to their senses for the sake of the American people and immediately pass the New START Treaty during this current session of Congress. Their political obstructionist stonewalling is detrimental to the human security of the United States and the world and is based on petty partisanship. Their real agenda is to try and make President Obama a one term president as they have gone on record saying that is what their primary goal is towards 2012.

All the GOP current politicians want to do is stall important legislation that would benefit Americans. That way they can continue to complain about President Obama and the Democrats. Meanwhile, they are acting out of selfish self-interest instead of basing their actions on what will help Americans be safer.

Can New START Treaty Survive Partisan Divide in Congress?

The Transcript of the PBS News Hour Video is here.

As Richard Burt, former arms control negotiator for Ronald Reagan points out in his PBS NewsHour interview, Senator Kyl’s and James Woolsey’s arguments have no merit because the New START Treaty has been thoroughly discussed and vetted:

  • There have been over 20 briefings of the Congress, of the Senate on this Treaty.
  • There have been over 900 questions answered about the details of the New START Treaty.
  • This Treaty has undergone as much examination as the treaty Republican Richard Burt helped negotiate under Ronald Reagan in 1991.

Burt said,

“And it’s interesting that Senator Kyl is focusing on nuclear modernization, rather than potential pitfalls in the treaty itself, because I think most of the arguments against the treaty are essentially bogus.”

Why has this Treaty become so politicized and controversial? Richard Burt answered this question from PBS NewsHour commentator Margaret Warner:

Richard Burt, former arms control negotiator for President Ronald Reagan said in the PBS New Hour Transcript:

RICHARD BURT: Well, again, I don’t think it’s because of problems with the treaty. Jim talks about ballistic missile defense.

The — there are no constraints on this administration or any future administration’s options for developing ballistic missile defense. The language in the treaty which is in the preamble is exactly the same as in the language in the treaty I negotiated and previous administrations negotiated.

Why is it getting so politicized? Well, first of all — and, here, I can say this as a Republican — this is the first time a Democratic administration has sought to get ratification for a strategic arms treaty. And I think that is a — it makes — creates a difficult dilemma for Republicans. [bolded for emphasis by KR]

It’s hard for Republicans to oppose a Republican administration’s treaty, particularly in the current hyper-partisan and polarized atmosphere in Washington. I think it’s much easier for Republicans to oppose this administration.

But, in thinking about the problem of ratification or non-ratification, we have to look at the consequences of what happens if this treaty goes down. We lose the verification system that has already lapsed under the treaty that I negotiated. We — we miss the opportunity to improve relations with the Russians, who have supported us on Iran and U.N. sanctions and increasingly in Afghanistan. And we become — we lose all credibility on the problem of stopping nuclear proliferation.

Margaret, there are only two governments in the world that wouldn’t like to see this treaty ratified, the government in Tehran and the government in North Korea.

As Burt indicates, the major reason this Treaty is being stalled is because Republicans are having a hard time allowing successful passage of any Arms Control Treaty by a Democratic administration and Democratic congress! This is pure political partisanship.

However, Democrats have always been able to set aside party politics and helped overwhelmingly pass former Arms Control Treaties from Republican Presidents and Republican Congresses. It seems Republicans need to learn that they need to put the interest of Americans before their petty selfish party politics.

Republican arms control negotiator Richard Burt said that the New START Treaty’s language about development of a missile defense is the same as the Treaty he helped negotiate under Ronald Reagan. There are no constraints. Yet Woolsey and others erroneously point to this as an issue.

Burt explains that:

It’s hard for Republicans to oppose a Republican administration’s treaty, particularly in the current hyper-partisan and polarized atmosphere in Washington. I think it’s much easier for Republicans to oppose this administration.

CBS Notebook: The New START Treaty

In the last few days 5 former Republican Secretaries of State and numerous military leaders all concur that it is in the best interest of the United States to pass the New START Treaty.

Passage of this START Treaty will pave the way for further successful efforts in reducing the threat from nuclear weapons around the world.

Here is a video that explains the details:

Weekly Address: New START Treaty “Fundamental” to Security

This entry was posted in arms control, common ground, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, congress, CTBT, dialogue, diplomacy, disarmament, Elections, Media, News, NPT, nuclear disarmament, Obama, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republicans, science & technology, senate, Senate and Congress, Space and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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