"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

The START Treaty: A Flawed, Mishandled Treaty

December 20th, 2010 by Samuel Clemons · No Comments

CNN reported yesterday, “Senate Republicans mounted a counter-attack Sunday against ratifying a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia this year, trying to put off a vote that Democrats say they will win if it is held. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the way, telling CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that members of his party need more time to consider the START accord. ‘I’ve decided I cannot support the treaty,’ McConnell said in his first outright rejection of ratifying the treaty during the current lame-duck session of Congress.

Sen. McConnell pointed out that this treaty is another example of “the same cart-before-the-horse approach” the Obama administration has used on security and defense issues, where they rush into a policy and only later study the problem. For examples, he listed the White House’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay without a plan for what to do with the terrorists held there, the “the President’s rush to remove the Intelligence Community from interrogating captured terrorists, without any consideration as to how to deal with them,” and the rush to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Other key Republicans have voiced serious concerns about the START Treaty and the process by which Democrats are considering it. The New York Times writes, “The top two Senate Republicans declared Sunday that they would vote against President Obama’s nuclear treaty with Russia as the bipartisan spirit of last week’s tax-cut deal devolved into a sharp battle over national security in the waning days of the session. With some prominent Republicans angry over passage of legislation ending the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, the mood in the Senate turned increasingly divisive and Mr. Obama and Democratic lawmakers scrambled to hold together a coalition to approve the treaty.”

According to the NYT, “One Republican who had previously signaled willingness to support the treaty, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, suggested Sunday that he would not. Mr. Graham cited the sour mood engendered by Democrats forcing votes on other topics in recent days . . . . ‘If you really want to have a chance of passing Start, you better start over and do it in the next Congress because this lame duck has been poisoned,” Mr. Graham said on “Face the Nation’ on CBS. . . . [Senate Republican Whip Jon] Kyl, on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ said he would vote against the treaty unless it was amended. ‘This treaty needs to be fixed,’ he said.”

As Sen. McConnell concluded today, “Our top concern should be the safety and security of our nation, not some politician’s desire to declare a political victory and host a press conference before the first of the year. Americans have had more than enough of artificial timelines set by politicians eager for attention. They want us to focus on their concerns, not ours, and never more so than on matters of National Security.”

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