Nov 19, 2010

The START treaty

Republicans, specifically Jon Kyl, are threatening not to pass the START arms control treaty.  Larison has been pounding this issue for a long time, but Josh Marshall has probably the best primer I've seen thus far. 
Have you heard this? Russia still has a massive strategic nuclear arsenal with pretty much the exclusive goal of being able to devastate the United States and kill pretty much all of us. For 15 years we had pretty robust right to inspect their arsenal many times a year, make sure they only had as many as they were allowed under our treaties and actually get up on the delivery missiles themselves and look at the payloads? Now we don't. In fact, we haven't since December 5th of last year. At first that wasn't that big a deal. Not much can happen in a few weeks or few months. But now it's been almost a year. So all that trust but verify stuff Ronald Reagan was so into? Well, now we can't verify. And for as much as you're worried about some Muslim guy blowing up a plane and killing a few hundred people, these are weapons designed to kill hundreds of millions of people. Do you feel more secure knowing we're just taking everything on faith from the Russians? Or that our intelligence on their missile designs and practices is growing older by the day?

There are also secondary arguments -- namely that there's no way to effective pressure the Iranians on their nuclear program without the assistance of the Russians. And this weakens the relationship with the Russian so by definition it undermines us on that front too. But again, the core issue is that the US is much more secure being able to inspect the Russian strategic missile force than not.
One of the several secondary issues is that the Russian government would be totally humiliated by the US's playing Lucy-and-the-football, and would not be likely to accept another treaty in the near future.

This is just cosmically irresponsible. All those conservative doomsday scenarios where a major US city gets flattened? They usually start with loose Russian nukes. Yet Republicans are willing to sink this treaty if it damages Obama. So they probably will.

For more, see here, here, and here.


  1. Golly Ryan, it's hard enough to sleep at night. I'm of the air raid/bomb shelter generation. We never quite lose the fear of nuclear annihilation. If the Dems can have enough votes to pass DADT, why can't they muster for the Treaty? Don't tell. :-( B

  2. Don't forget that you need 67 votes in the Senate to ratify a treaty. At least practically the whole military-industrial complex is behind this one.