Stop the New START Treaty

By:  Ann Shibler

Start TreatyOn April 8, 2010, in Prague, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev signed the New START Treaty. It must be ratified by 67 U.S. senators, and the Russian Parliament, of course, in order to take effect. The Obama Administration and top brass in the military are in favor of quick ratification.

The gist of the arguments for what the Obama Administration calls its cornerstone of strategic security are the same old canards about national security and fear of nuclear weapons in the hands of rogue nations that Americans have been fed for decades, with a couple of new ones thrown in. Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates warned that failure to sign on to the START treaty would result in the loss of U.S. leadership in the global effort to prevent nuclear proliferation, while approval would strengthen the United States’ credibility in arms reduction with China.

On June 28 the New York Post reported that some senators asked for the negotiating record for START but that their request has been denied by the Obama Administration. “Is there something in the blow-by-blow transcript of the talks with the Russians that the White House doesn’t want senators to see?” asked the Post, adding, “Some fear the administration did some winking and nodding with the Kremlin on missile defense that won’t show up in the treaty language. Team Obama says START doesn’t limit US missile-defense plans, but the administration’s remarkable weakness so far on missile defense is cause for anxiety.”

The treaty places a ceiling on warheads -- 700 missiles and bombers with 1,550 deployed warheads for both countries -- which admittedly is fewer than during JFK’s administration. But a bigger problem rears its head with some confusion over missile defense systems. The U.S. -- Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary Robert Gates, Sen. John Kerry, and a few others -- insists that there is no limitations on missile defense in the treaty. The Russians on the other hand stated, “[New START] can operate and be viable only if the United States of America refrains from developing its missile-defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.” This is reinforced by the language in the treaty’s pre-amble that admits to “the link between strategic offensive and strategic defensive armaments.”

U.S. News and World Report online noted that Republicans are moving toward acceptance of the Treaty, starting with Indiana’s Sen. Richard Lugar. After political heavyweights James Baker, Henry Kissinger, and Brent Scowcroft let it be known that they were in favor of the Treaty, the Republican count is said to be going up. “Washington Whispers” column authors said that those three had assured Republicans that New START “will not affect any U.S. missile defense plans.”

Senator Jim Inhofe disagrees, adamantly. After the June 17 Senate hearings on New Start, Inhofe said, “I said this when the Treaty was signed in April and my sentiments remain the same:  I remain concerned about several critical pieces of this security treaty:  modernization, force structure, missile defense, verification and most importantly, our overall ability to deter our enemies.”

The START treaty should be rejected by all of us, as it is an act of deception -- the primary beneficiary will definitely be the Russians whose word has never exceeded the value of the paper the treaties they sign are printed on. And a presidential “road to zero” policy is foolish and invites disaster with countries such as China, North Korea, Pakistan and Syria seriously ramping up their arsenals, leaving America vulnerable.

To place this New Start Treaty in historical context, consider that on September 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke at the United Nations and presented the United States' proposal for "general and complete disarmament under effective international control." This disarmament proposal was then issued as "Freedom From War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World," Department of State Publication 7277, September 1961. According to "Publication 7277":

In Stage III progressive controlled disarmament and continuously developing principles and procedures of international law would proceed to a point where no state [nation] would have the military power to challenge the progressively strengthened U.N. Peace Force and all international disputes would be settled according to the agreed principles of international conduct.

Thus, the New START Treaty is the latest installment in a long series of disamament treaties between the United States and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) that began in 1961. Furthermore, the New START Treaty continues the half-century, sovereignty-destroying tradition of disarming the United States while implicitly acknowledging the United Nations and its NATO subsidiary as the world's premier military power.

A preemptive strike would be in order for defeating this treaty by warning our senators early on that Americans are not in favor of playing games with the Russians, or watering down their own country’s strategic defense system in light of other countries increasing their nuclear capabilities. Contact your senators in opposition to ratification of the START Treaty.

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