Memo for the Movement

QUACK, QUACK, QUACK: The New START Treaty must not be forced down the throats of the American people during a “Lame-Duck” session of Congress

RE: The Founding Fathers intended for the Senate to serve as a real quality-control mechanism in the making of treaties. Senators must not accede to the Obama administration’s pressure to rubberstamp New START, a major strategic nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States. This is because New START can have a profoundly negative impact on our security by increasing the number of weapons in the world and raising the risk of nuclear war.

ISSUE-IN-BRIEF: The Senate has a constitutional responsibility to grant “advice and consent” to ratification of treaties negotiated by the Executive Branch: major arms control treaties like New START – a bilateral agreement with Russia that would require dramatic cuts in our deterrent forces – require particular scrutiny. The Congress’ duty to provide for the common defense further demands that “the world’s greatest deliberative body” must live up to that descriptor by exercising due diligence on an accord inimical to the national security.

There are many reasons for the Senate not to rush to judgment on New START during a “Lame-Duck” session — here are a few:

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS NOT BEEN TRANSPARENT ABOUT NEW START. Russia succeeded to a remarkable degree in achieving their objectives in New START. Despite repeated requests from senators, the administration has refused to release the treaty’s negotiating record. As a result, neither Congress nor the American people currently know what, if any, ancillary agreements and as-yet-undisclosed understandings – on issues such as missile defense, nuclear targeting, etc. – were concluded as part of the treaty deliberations.

NEW START IS INHERENTLY UNEQUAL. It is an open secret that the United States, alone among the world's nuclear powers, is not engaged in a sustained modernization of its nuclear triad. By contrast, the Kremlin is upgrading each element of its strategic arsenal, notably with new long-range missiles and bombers. The Russians also said they will exploit New START’s counting rules to maintain as many as 2100 warheads, not the 1550 the United States expects to have. In addition, the Kremlin is aggressively modernizing its tactical nuclear weapons inventory, which is already estimated to be ten-times the size of its U.S. counterpart and unconstrained by the New START Treaty. The net effect of these shifting strategic trends will be to condemn the United States to decided nuclear inferiority relative to Russia. Its forces will also be inadequate to provide extended deterrence to our allies.

NEW START IS PART OF A LARGER, AND DANGEROUS, PUSH FOR UNILATERAL DISARMAMENT. The Obama administration has made pursuit ofglobal nuclear disarmament ("global zero") national policy. Toward that end, it believes the United States must lead by example in dismantling its strategic arsenal. New START is explicitly meant to be a key step in this process – but not the last. If the Senate agrees to New START’s ratification, the administration will construe it as an endorsement of the President’s radical agenda. That will translate not only into still-more draconian cuts in our deterrent, but the continued, deliberate atrophying of its aging weapons and delivery systems.

NEW START LIMITS AMERICAN MISSILE DEFENSE DEVELOPMENT. Administration officials have repeatedly said that nothing in New START serves to constrain U.S. missile defense development. Yet, Article V of the Treaty and additional provisions in the Protocol and Annexes clearly impinge upon U.S. missile defense options. At best, the Russians’ threat to withdraw from New START if the U.S. makes qualitative or quantitative improvements to its anti-missile systems will discourage the Obama administration from seriously investing in such defenses. At worst, the Treaty will constitute a significant impediment to protecting the American people from ballistic missile attack.

The process through which this treaty has been considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been biased with hearings packed with  “treaty friendly” witnesses. In 12 hearings, just two witnesses out of 22 were critics of New START. Given this stacked deck of witnesses and the inherently incomplete and misleading record they produced, it is all the more essential that the decision on this treaty not be made by yesterday’s Senate, but by the one elected next week by the American people. It would be utterly unconscion­able to oblige the  three newly elected Senators who are expected to be seated in time for the short lame duck session to cast uninformed votes on so complex and controversial a matter. The rush to ratification undermines the important role of “advice and consent” that the Senate  must exercise on any treaty of this magnitude.


Parsing the ‘Partisan’ Politics of New START,
by James Carafano

Twelve Flaws of New START That Will Be Difficult to Fix
September 16, 2010 by Baker Spring Backgrounder #2466

Protective Agreement to Limit Missile Defense and Space Systems Should Delay New START
October 19, 2010 by Baker Spring WebMemo #3038

Tea Party on New Start: more right than Rogin,
by James Carafano

BOLTON & DESUTTER: The illusory verification gap
Break in treaty compliance data is Obama's own doing

Frank Gaffney: New START is a Non-Starter

New Deterrent Working Group: Toward a New Deterrent

Ignoring Arms Control History Carries a Cost

Missile Defense Criticism of Sen. DeMint is Off Target

New START Proponents Drag Out Same Tired Argument

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