By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Even though the White House spin machine is framing the standoff over ratification of the new nuclear weapons treaty known as START as “partisan”, the real problem is that the treaty is deeply flawed and would seriously compromise the safety of Americans.
In an article appearing in today’s Daily Caller, James Carafano, senior research fellow for national and homeland security at The Heritage Foundation lays out 10 clear reasons why ratification of START is a bad idea.
Among those reasons is the fact that the new START treaty will result in making Russia the world’s most dominant nuclear power because it limits future U.S. missile defense options. Even the Russians know this and have publicly stated it, but President Obama denies it.
” . . . When two parties to a treaty disagree as to what it means … that’s not good,” Carafano says.
“After the treaty signing, the White House issued a ‘fact sheet’ declaring that it imposed no limits on missile defense. It then withdrew the fact sheet and issued a new one – one that now omitted that ‘fact’.”
The treaty also allows Russia the ability to reduce its stockpile of aging nuclear weapons and upgrade them with strategic and tactical nukes. Meanwhile, Obama has already promised not to replace or modernize the U.S. arsenal.
“Russia’s 10,000-plus tactical nuclear weapons (a 10-to-one advantage over NATO) are not covered by the treaty,” Carafano says. “Under New START, the U.S. cuts more weapons and launchers than Russia. Indeed, it allows Moscow to build more launchers. Bottom line: The treaty assures that Russia will one day have a qualitative and quantitative advantage over the U.S.”
Making Russia a more dominant nuclear power is an all-around bad strategy because it empowers a nation that routinely invades its neighbors, is hostile to democracy even within its own borders, and is famous for helping rogue nations like Iran develop nuclear weapons.
But there are other bad ideas buried in the treaty, which would remain in effect for 10 years if ratified. Among them is the establishment of an independent Bilateral Consultative Commission which has a broad mandate to promote the objectives of the treaty. The Commission has the power to impose additional restrictions on our missile defenses which will severely compromise our national Sovereignty.
Even more worrisome is the dismantling of President Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” strategy which required the U.S. to be sure the Russians were conforming to the treaty. “We know the Russians have been cheating on implementation of arms control agreements for years,” Carafano writes. “We also know that the combination of the Moscow Treaty and the original START agreement would have put in place a more comprehensive verification regime than what is in the New START agreement.”
Perhaps most troubling of all is the treaty’s inadequate response to the fact that Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist groups consider the acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons “a sacred goal.”
“New START does nothing to address Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons or the danger of nuclear terrorism. New START is like painting the house when you are worried about arsonists – investing a lot of effort in something that does not deal with the threat,” Carafano writes.
In summary, Carafano calls New START “a deeply flawed, counterproductive treaty that demonstrates this administration’s failure to keep its eye on the nuclear ball. Conservatives oppose the treaty not because they are ‘partisan’ (as the White House routinely claims) but because they see the treaty as useless in limiting proliferation, detrimental to missile defense, and counter to the purpose of defense treaties – defending and protecting America from her enemies.”
Mr. Carafano’s entire article can be found here.
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