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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Fools Rushed In To New START

The lame duck rush to ratify the New START Treaty is becoming an example of fools rushing in.

One of the sticking points for Republicans opposed to the Treaty (13 Republicans voted in favor of the Treaty) was that the Preamble language seemed to link missile reduction to limits on U.S. missile defense.  This connection of offensive and defensive weapons was the public position of the Russians, yet the Obama administration gave repeated assurances that such was not the case.

Rather than waiting for an official clarification from the Russians, and a binding understanding, the fools rushed in and ratified the Treaty because otherwise, in Harry Reid's words, we would be letting terrorists have nukes. 

The lower DUMA of the Russian parliament, however, continues to insist on what always has been the Russian position that the Treaty limits U.S. missile defenses.  As reported by ABC News:
An official of the lower house of the Duma says that as it ratifies the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START, the Russian parliament will reaffirm that the treaty limits U.S. plans for missile defense, contrary to the stated position of U.S. officials.

Asked for comment, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor tells ABC News, "The President sent a letter to the Senate on December 18th that said: ‘The New Start Treaty places no limitations on the development or deployment of our missile defense programs.' That remains the case."
Read the full ABC report.  It details the history and consistency of the Russian insistence that the Preamble language has meaning.  Ed Morrissey at HotAir details how this is setting up a potential failure of the Treaty.

This is more than an embarrassment.  The process by which the New START Treaty was rushed through Congress in the run up to the Christmas recess epitomizes not only the methodology of the Obama administration, in which false crises are created to achieve legislative victories, but also how numerous weak-kneed Republicans went along with this charade.

If the New START Treaty were so vital to our national security, then we should have had binding commitments from the Russians making clear that their interpretation of the Preamble was consistent with our interpretation.  Instead, we have a mess in which the parties to the Treaty do not have a meeting of the minds on the meaning of the language. 

Putin wants the Treaty passed, so it remains to be seen if the Russian DUMA actually amends the Treaty or issues its own understanding.  Regardless, the fact that the U.S. and Russia do not agree on the meaning of the Preamble is a prescription not for an effective Treaty, but for future conflict.

Related Posts:
Legislation By Crisis Still Works For Obama
Harry Reid Must Want Terrorists To Have Nukes
Another Phony Crisis, Another Rush To Vote

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  1. Once again, the best the GOP has to offer fold under the Obama juggernaut. Thank God the TEA Party won so many elections in November. Maybe we'll see results.

  2. So this embarrassment pretty much whittles down Obama's "successes" in the lame duck to DADT (something he all but ignored) and the tax compromise (which he whined like a spoiled brat about).

    So much for the comeback.

  3. Guess who urged senators not to ratify START? Guess who came out in support of Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America? Guess who was opposed to Mitch McConnell needlessly giving away the farm to get everybody's income tax rate extended for two years?

    Sarah Palin took all those policy positions after the November elections. She's 3 for 3 in my book.

  4. The line that the Russians and the Americans disagree about the interpretation of the treaty assumes that the administration is telling the truth about what it thinks the treaty means. But they could simply be saying in public what they think the public wants to hear, while privately telling the Russians something different. Has anyone checked with WikiLeaks to see what they've said about this thing in secret?

  5. Of course the Obama administration and the Democrats were lying regarding missile defense. That Democrats wish to emasculate the USA's ability to defend itself is a given. But any Republicans that would take a Democrat's assurances in good faith needs to be thrown out of office.

    We have a good start with Bennet. Murky is embedded for 6 years, but other idiots who voted for START, like Snowe and Lugar can be challenged in 2012.

  6. 1. Good point, irvingprime.

    2. Could the administration's approach help the interest groups in the leftist ecosystem bring the courts (and transnational organizations) into the disagreement?

    3. Of course, it would be catastrophically stupid to subordinate strategic national security decisions to the same legalistic rigmarole that has been (mis)used to block the construction of nuclear power plants. With this administration, that's not a reason to not worry.

  7. This is precisely why I said we have plenty of time to pass this and there's no need to rush. People needed time on both sides to evaluate the language.

    And from what I've read Obama refuses to release the notes on the negotiations. So we really don't know for sure what they intended.

    Fortunately if the DUMA changes a single jot or tittle of the treaty it will have to pass the senate as amended, and I seriously doubt its chances now.

    This administration either 1) negotiated and signed this treaty without agreeing with its partner as to exactly what it meant, or 2) has deliberately misled the senate as to what the parties agreed.

    In either case they can't be trusted to do this without a of of supervision and help.