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Senate Should Avoid Rapid START Ratification

Will the U.S. Senate ask the right questions about the new START? Inquiring missile defense supporters want to know. Careful deliberation, not rapid ratification, is the key.

“All treaties deserve careful scrutiny because they represent a solemn commitment by the United States to other sovereign states,” Theodore Bromund writes on The Foundry. “But arms control treaties are particularly important because they concern our security, which the American people created the government to protect. A bad arms control treaty is not just an insult to the serious business of diplomacy. It can pose a direct threat to our interests, and those of our allies.”

The U.S. and Russia signed the treaty in April, and the president wants the treaty ratified by the end of this year. John Kerry, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seeks a vote on ratification before August recess.

“This urgency is incompatible with the Senate’s traditions and with its responsibilities today, Bromund writes. “The administration has stated that the choice is between the New START Treaty and no treaty governing the U.S.-Russian strategic arsenals at all. This is extremely low bar, and also factually untrue: the Moscow Treaty remains in force until the end of 2012. The New START Treaty seeks to preserve the ‘viability and effectiveness’ of the Russian strategic nuclear arsenal, which implies a broad restriction on the ability of the United States to deploy missile defenses. And while the treaty’s supporters claim that New START will restore the United States to a position of leadership on non-proliferation, the fact is that there is no relationship between the size of the U.S. nuclear stockpile – which has fallen dramatically since 1987 – and the desire of states such as Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons.”

Bromund believes the Senate should request the negotiating record, as do other proponents of a strong and uncompromised missile defense.

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