Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blocking Arms Control Treaty, GOP Plays Politics With National Security

Why are the Republicans blocking the Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty? Senator John Kyle of Arizona (left), lead GOP negotiator, announced that after months of discussions, there's no time to reach an agreement. Consider the consequences:

Gary Samore, the top White House arms-control official, said Thursday he feared that putting off the treaty until next year would mean it “could be delayed indefinitely.” As a result, the United States and Russia would not resume nuclear inspections that lapsed last year, which he said would fuel distrust and lead to “a greater likelihood you could get into an arms race.”

He also said a failure to ratify the treaty would undercut Russian support for the campaign to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program. “To do that, we really need the Russians with us,” he told a forum at the Nixon Center. And he suggested that Mr. Kyl might not get his [nuclear] modernization money because Democrats and conservative Republicans in the next Congress would not go along. “Support for that could evaporate if the treaty is not approved,” he said.

Don't the Republicans, who bill themselves as the party of national security, want to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons? Don't they want to know how many warheads the Russians have? Didn't Reagan himself state that the United States should "trust but verify" when negotiating the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty? Aren't they concerned about the possibility of Russian "loose nukes"?  Aren't Henry Kissinger, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, all of whom served in Republican administrations, supporting the treaty?

Why, then, are the Republicans blocking the treaty? Once again, it's to deny President Obama a victory. They're playing politics with national security or, as Maureen Dowd put it, "Nuking the White House."

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