25 Nov 2010
Why blocking the New START treaty is dangerous to Russia’s neighbors
Of all the various things I wanted to write about this week, the issue that got me most hot and bothered was the sudden attempts by Senate Republicans to sink the START arms reduction treaty with Russia. I’ve made no secret of my misgivings about the treaty, but failing to ratify it would be highly irresponsible, and a scary look at things to come from the new Republican Congress.
So, naturally, I railed off a rant about it this morning in the Faster Times.
Watching Russian-American relations unfold from the geopolitical tinderbox of the Caucasus, it’s hard not to feel like a flammable bystander in middle of a match fight at times. One of those times is now, as Republican lawmakers, emboldened by their party’s victory in midterm elections, are trying to kill Obama’s New START Treaty with Russia.
The new arms reduction treaty would pick up where previous post-Cold War deescalation treaties with the former Soviet Union left off, pulling back weapons systems from European soil and reducing the numbers of deployed nuclear weapons with mutual inspections to ensure compliance. This same kind of cooperation has produced agreements to put in place radiological detection systems at border posts to prevent illicit trade of nuclear materials and weapons.
State Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher wrote in a Sept. editorial in Politico:
For the past 15 years, our principal arms control agreement with Russia, START , has been based on President Ronald Reagan’s guiding principle, “Trust, but verify.”
But START , which allowed us to monitor and inspect Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal, expired last December. Now, we have only trust — and that’s not enough in an uncertain world.
Kind of hard to argue with that, right? Wrong.
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