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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Time for the GOP to get serious on START

By Adam Serwer

Senate Republicans need to stop playing politics with the New START treaty and ratify it. Without the treaty, America will lose the ability to monitor Russia's nuclear arsenal and will pointlessly antagonize a country in a position to aid the U.S. effort in Afghanistan and to help frustrate Iran's nuclear ambitions. Whether or not the treaty gets ratified ultimately depends on how many Republicans in the Senate are willing to go along with killing New START for the sole purpose of making the president look bad. 

New START isn't a great big step forward for nuclear non-proliferation -- it mostly retains an existing framework put in place by Republican presidents. That the treaty's outcome remains in doubt at all is just the latest example of the GOP shamelessly manufacturing controversy over Democrats adopting policies Republicans once embraced. 

Last week, Republicans spent several days debating a throwaway phrase in the preamble to the treaty, insisting that it puts limits on America's ability to construct missile defense systems. They made two attempts to kill the treaty with amendments that would have antagonized Russia and forced it and the U.S. back to the negotiating table.

What makes this absurd is that the senators leading the resistance -- Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jon Kyl -- have made it very clear that they understand the preamble language the amendments would replace is not legally binding. Every living Republican Secretary of State has endorsed New START, and the treaty has the blessing of the current military leadership, including the director of the Missile Defense Agency, who, as Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) noted yesterday, said that "there is no restraint, zero, none, no restraint whatsoever on our missile defense capacity."

Now either the GOP senators opposed to START know something the rest of the country doesn't, and the entire U.S. military and bipartisan foreign policy apparatus is conspiring to sell U.S. national security out to Russia, or Republicans in the Senate have reached a new low in their efforts to humiliate the president. 

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

By Adam Serwer  | December 20, 2010; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Comments

Greg-

I'll go with the last explanation.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, sorry, Adam. Please forgive.

Another way to look at this is,"... Republicans in the Senate have reached a new low in their efforts to humiliate *themselves*."

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 20, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, sorry, Adam. Please forgive.

Another way to look at this is,"... Republicans in the Senate have reached a new low in their efforts to humiliate *themselves*."

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 20, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

A) GOP = politics at its worst 24/7/365

B) The bigots are still miffed at DADT repeal

Literally ALL THEY KNOW is bigotry and deceit.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 20, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot...... COUNTRY FIRST!*


* unless there is a Democratic President, unless Wall Street says boo, or unless they can stick it to a minority group or the poor

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 20, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Tick, tick, tick tick.........

The clock is running out for the Obama, dead ducks.

Time to put them out of our misery.

Before they can lob another, legislative stink bomb at America.

Tick, tick, tick.....

Posted by: battleground51 | December 20, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"Without the treaty, America will lose the ability to monitor Russia's nuclear arsenal."

I thought we had *already* lost that ability?

Posted by: sbj3 | December 20, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@sbj: "I thought we had *already* lost that ability?"

Correct. The treaty restores it.

@battleground51: "Tick, tick, tick....."

Yeah, this has been an historic lame duck session! One of the most productive in recent memory. If we get START passed and Zadroga-9/11 Responders then really the only thing we DIDN'T get is DREAM and tax cut extension just for the MC. But we got everything else. Hear that battlebigot? Tick tick tick... It's the countdown to the celebration of Obama's/Dems' historic end of session!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 20, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Every living Republican Secretary of State is aganist Roe v. Wade too. Using Adam's logic, it's time for the GOP to get serious on the Human Life Amendment. Far more future generations of Americans are at risk of abortion than nuclear annihilation.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Clawrence12, with posts like that it's clear you don't understand the concept of logic.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 20, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

START is flawed and will do nothing to contain the spread of nuclear weapons.All it will do is hinder the USA from defending itself against other nuclear powers in the world.Russia will not even be monitored under START,so what good is it?

Posted by: fcs25 | December 20, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans in the Senate have reached a new low in their efforts to humiliate the president."

Yup! I think Sen. Graham's statement that Dems are just voting on these things to make the Repubs look bad, said a lot. It was definitely a confession of sorts that politics is their primary concern and not American security.

"Every living Republican Secretary of State is aganist Roe v. Wade too. Using Adam's logic, it's time for the GOP to get serious on the Human Life Amendment."

Logic fail.

Republican secretaries of state generally aren't involved in domestic social agendas. They are, however, involved in American diplomacy and matters of American security.

Let's just be honest here and admit this is all about the Republicans wanting to deny Obama any political victories even at the expense of American standing in world affairs. It is pure naked unadulterated politics and it is a shame.


Posted by: Alex3 | December 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"Russia will not even be monitored under START"

lies

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 20, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Ethan and Alex, every living Republican Secretary of Health and Human Services too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse


"
Clawrence12, with posts like that it's clear you don't understand the concept of logic."

He's a rightwinger, which makes that axiomatic.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 20, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

clawrence is, predictably, a liar.

Condoleezza Rice has stated that she is against overturning Roe v. Wade.

http://wn.com/Condoleezza_Rice's_Views_on_Abortion

And Colin Powell stated in his autobiography that he supports abortion rights.

And I'd be interested to see where cliarence determined that Henry Kissinger (still alive after all these years) is opposed to Roe v. Wade.

Bottom line: clawrence is not only illogical, he is a liar.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 20, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw, I amended my argument to Sec. of HHS.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Ethan and Alex, every living Republican Secretary of Health and Human Services too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 12:11 PM\
+++++++++++++

Clawrence,

You aren't even a convincing liar.

When you mentioned Secretaries of HHS, you added "too". In other words, you weren't replacing the statement about Secretaries of State, you were adding another claim.

You lied. You got caught. Admit it.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | December 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's where an evening address from the Oval Office would be useful. Obama brings the big media spotlight onto the Republican dissenters and goes directly to the people. I know folks wanted to see him do this for many issues, but this one should work.

Posted by: mercerreader | December 20, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

No, "too" should have read "then" (since THEY were making a valid point about abortion being a domestic issue except, of course, when we are funding abortion overseas). I admit nothing else.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr Serwer's use of the word "time" is interesting. There is a negotiating technique that relies on a limiting the amount of time available as a means of creating a bargaining position. This is best summed up with the words "But you must act now!".

Mr Serwer seeks to create such time pressure. What, exactly is the rush? The treaty has been available for how long now? Why is it coming to the fore now?

it would seem to me that the time pressure is really on the Democrats. If they can't this between now and the 1/3 they likely can't get it at all.

But Mr Serwer seeks to put the time pressure on the opponents of the treaty.

Welcome to politics without a supermajority Mr Serwer. Suddenly the Demcrats must horse trade and the left hates it.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 20, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

American missile inspectors weren't on the ground in Russia yesterday, and they're not there today, and they might not be there next year or every again. Why?

Because of Republican political posturing.

Posted by: paul65 | December 20, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Clawrence, what I want to know is WHY you lie.

You know you are lying. You know you will be proven wrong by those who know the facts. So why bother? Is it to prove to us all how insecure you are? Is it a cry for help? Were you never told -- like most people are in kindergarten -- that lying is bad? Is it your parents' fault? Is it your education that is lacking?

What is the CAUSE of your pathology?

That is the $24,000 question.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"START is flawed and will do nothing to contain the spread of nuclear weapons.All it will do is hinder the USA from defending itself against other nuclear powers in the world.Russia will not even be monitored under START,so what good is it?

Posted by: fcs25 | December 20, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse "

*****************************>

I'd take the argument that GWB isn't smart enough to understand the treaty so his support is meaningless, and you probably hate Obama so anything anyone involved with his administration you're automatically opposed to regardless. And I'll just let you get by with saying that Obama somehow forced the pentagon to give unanimous support for this treaty, but what about Bush Sr? He's easily the most saavy foreign policy president still alive today and possibly the most foreign policy savvy president of the second half of the 20th century.

Explain his support for the bill. Keep in mind that anyone you cite has to possess credential equal to or greater the Bush Sr. I can't personally think of someone offhand. If you can't cite an individual of equal credentials its pretty clear you'd just making crap up because you hate Obama.

Posted by: tweldy | December 20, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I am not lying, so that should answer all of your questions. If you find a Republican Sec. of HHS who is pro-life, I will gladly admit that I was wrong, however. As a hypothetical exercise, it does point out the logical fallacies of Adam's argument.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

tweldy, Bush41 is a Republican in Name In Only.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

All republicans are rinos. There is not a single republican with integrity. They are all deluded narcissists. Warmongers with blackened, hardened hearts and no spirituality, the average republican is heading straight to hell....to the lower dismal astral planes of the after life. That is why they are republicans in the first place. They are more primitive and less evolved than the rest of the population. That is why republicans have lower IQs than the rest of the population...by as much as 30-40% lower. Stupid people are attracted to the republican party as are the rich who want less taxes because they are greedy, and also narcissists and mentally ill people and those with closed hearts identify as republican.

Posted by: vintel7 | December 20, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

So ratifying the obviously flawed treaty will alleviate the real nuclear threats from n korea, pakistan, iran, china, etc. No, what it will do is hinder our ability to defend against these threats; all so obama can look like he has some international defense cred. Instead of apologizing to the world for our nuclear arsenal, we should express our willingness to actually use a few of these weapons in defense of our way of life. One or two hydrogen hellos in n korea or iran would make them see the benefit of peaceful cooperation. Just ask japan.

Posted by: robert1967 | December 20, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Time for a little honesty on the part of the Republicans. Listen to your Republican wise men and support START,... and throw that rattle and pacifier away.

Posted by: Eugene6 | December 20, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

vintel7, I'd bet that my IQ scores higher than yours.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

No need to rush something through at the last minute. This is to important and Russia seems to be pushing it. Republicans should stand firm and look at the whole thing after the holidays.

Posted by: farmsnorton | December 20, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

This is a little more important than a football game or Dancing with the Stars. We have an administration that pushes things through, big things, behind closed doors, on weekends and passes bills that haven't even been read. This is not a contest leftists, it's national security. Get rid of the juvenile ha ha we won attitude. Mitch McConnell has stated that the "non binding language could ultimately inhibit development of American missile defense systems". It doesn't matter if you love Obama and hate Republicans including McConnell. What matters is if what he said is true or not and not just "winning" before those mean old Republicans take control of the house.

Posted by: thebink | December 20, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

clawrence12, the abortion issue you raise is a red herring. The article is about the senate Republicans ignoring the advice of Republican Secretaries of State supporting the treaty.

If the article was about Senate Republicans not voting for a bill to restrict abortion despite the advice of the Republican Secretaries of HHS opinion, your point may be valid. But as it is, there isn't a connection.

Do you think the START treaty should pass? Do you think the Republican Senators are being responsible by ignoring what other Republicans with extensive foreign policy experience are advocating?

Posted by: jeffkaufman | December 20, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

thebink:
Are you even reading what you write? Your paraphrase of McConnell is a contradiction. Do you know what non-binding means? It means, push come to shove, we may disregard that part of the treaty. All it is is flowery language in a preamble meant to state the high aims/goals of the treaty. It has no force of law and isn't written in exact, legally rigorous language, and is intended to be unenforceable. So McConnell is creating problems where there are none.

Furthermore, if you read the article, you'd see that the director of our Military Defense Agency sees no problem with it, as well as all living former Republican secretaries and one president. Besides which, even if the preamble had force of law, countries (especially one as strong as ours) may and sometimes do unilaterally withdraw from a treaty for virtually any reason. This is a political ploy on the part of current Republican politicians. Country first, indeed.

Posted by: Arawn | December 20, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Edit: In my previous comment, I meant to said Missile Defense, not Military Defense.

Posted by: Arawn | December 20, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't only read WAPO articles as there are others out there that aren't quite as slanted. I stand by what I wrote. Important bills, policies etc. should not be pushed through simply to satisfy an idiotic "I won" mentality whether it's on the Left or right. This administration is looking more and more like it's using the divide and conquer strategy and I find it to be potentially dangerous to the well being of Americans, again, both Left and Right.

Posted by: thebink | December 20, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

jeffkaufman, it is not a "red herring" to completely demolish Adam's logic on this point. To answer your questions, no I do not believe the current version of START should be ratified by the Senate, nor do I think voting "nay" despite the advice of Republican Secretaries of State (and one former President) necessarily means "ignoring" said advice.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope every Senator first looks at a map of the world and realize that we are talking about a country that spans 12 time zones and has immeasurable oil and mineral wealth. Add to that E. Europe and every country where, over the last sixty years, they have sent "advisers" to either introduce "Red Terror" to that country or destabilize western Allies in the area.
Russia is not poor. They are spiritually vacant, but they are not poor.
The "Big Lie" of the last 20 years is that we "won" the Cold War and that, conversely, they "lost."
Anyone who has sympathy for this devil is de facto insane.
Only when they beg us should we sign this worthless piece of diplomatic trash. Instead, they seem to be threatening us, don't they?
Mr. Putin, you can change your business card to say anything you want, but in the end, you are standard issue Russian tyrant, surrounded by puppets and slaves.

Posted by: BigSea | December 20, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Clawrence, what I want to know is WHY you lie.

You know you are lying. You know you will be proven wrong by those who know the facts. So why bother?

==

So riddle me this. You know the guy's a liar, you know that every time someone responds to one of his posts he's succeeded in diverting discussion, and given that we have a working filter, why not just block him along with 37th AKA RFR and get on with life?

When you suffer fools you ennoble them.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 20, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't lie.

Posted by: clawrence12 | December 20, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The media debate is in full swing about the President’s huge lame duck session, and what it will mean for his poll numbers. Now as we sit on the precipice of the START treaty ratification, I felt it was important to glance back in the history of this President and see why exactly we are here today. A kind of struggle through the white noise if you will:

http://www.doubledutchpolitics.com/2010/12/for-obama-new-strategic-arms-reduction-treaty-is-start-of-legacy/

Posted by: RyanC1384 | December 21, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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