New START at a New Stop?

Posted: November 18, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

The full-court press to have the Senate ratify New START is once again underway.  So let’s quickly review where we are on the issue with a test.

New START will:

a) Improve national security

b)  Worsen national security

c) Do something to national security

d) We don’t know what it will do to national security

The answer of course, is “D” because seasoned question-takers know one of the rules of multiple choice is this: when in doubt choose the longest answer.

Additionally, “D” is best because the Magic 8-ball of National Security, like intelligence assessments in general, leaves much to be desired.  There are very few true no brainers.

One of the best things you can say about New START (and this is a bit counterintuitive given the hype surrounding the subject) is that it is unlikely to seriously undermine national security.  Said another way, it’s modest.

The worst things you can say about New START is that it will not make us any safer or even that it will make us less secure by throwing away an opportunity to engage with Russia on their ten-times advantage on tactical nukes, and with China on their nuclear weapons programs.  But to think that a treaty will turn the barbarians away from the gates is lunacy.

FWIW, how one looks at New START is less a reflection on what it should, might, or will do and is instead more of a reflection of how the beholder views the world.  A number of policy makers see a treaty as an inviolate law that cannot be broken.

The realists consider the non-effect of some of mankind’s most pompous treaties such as Kellogg-Briand, the treaty which outlawed war.  To quote Wiki’s understated assessment “As a practical matter, the Kellogg–Briand Pact did not live up to its aim of ending war, and in this sense it made no immediate contribution to international peace and proved to be ineffective in the years to come.”

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