Senate Debate on New START Has Left the Station

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Senate discussion about New START is underway.  Senator Jon Kyle leads those opposed.  So just what is the state of play?

From Time:

Kyl, it is fair to say, is not a big supporter of treaties. He is a big supporter of tough negotiations, however, and in the process of talks with the administration he has extracted considerable benefits for the two Republican Senators from Tennessee if the treaty does pass.

Kyl knows his stuff, and in his lengthy presentation is providing substantive cover for those of his colleagues who want to vote against the treaty. Lugar, however, is even more expert in these areas and will respond.

Lugar certainly has more arms control experience.  That isn’t the same as being more expert.

From McPaper:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday disputed Kyl’s concerns that the deal was unfavorable to the U.S., saying at the White House the treaty "in no way limits anything we want or have in mind on missile defense."

Decoded: since the administration doesn’t intend to improve national missile defense to begin with—that is, plus up its funding—then New START doesn’t do a thing.

From the New York Times:

The White House enlisted Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to vouch for the treaty. “To have transparency,” he said, “to understand the rules by which to put structure to that activity, we need Start, and we need it badly.”

You think you want it badly, you’ll get it badly.  This is the same Cartwright who said the U.S. needed 860 launchers minimum and without a whiff of explanation, altered his assessment to 700 launchers, the launcher number in New START.

If some of the ideas being mentioned are pursued (such as submitting amendments and bagging the preamble), New START becomes less objectionable.  But rebuttals like ‘it doesn’t keep us from doing what we weren’t going to do anyway’ and ‘ignore any previous assessment I’ve had on this subject’ don’t strengthen New START’s case.

 

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