NPR Lets False New START Claims Slide
On the November 17th episode of All Things Considered host Robert Siegel allowed undersecretary of state for arms control and international security Ellen Taushcher to make the case for President Barack Obama’s New START treaty including this exchange:
SIEGEL: Is it a valid political objection to say some things shouldn’t be done when we can see the new Senate? They’re waiting outside the doors. They’re going to come in another couple of months, something this big should be left to them.
Ms. TAUSCHER: No. Because it’s this Senate that has had the 18 hearings, and it’s this Senate that had the 900 questions for the record, and it’s this Senate the president put the treaty before. It’s important that we get this done because every day that we don’t have this treaty is a day that we only have trust but not verify.
SIEGEL: On the other hand, we haven’t had a treaty now for several months. It doesn’t seem to have been an especially troubled period in our relations with Russia and there are no nuclear crises that we’ve heard about. Is another year without a treaty really that much different and that much worse?
Ms. TAUSCHER: Well, it’s my calculation that we need to get this done now because every day that we don’t is a day that not only don’t we have boots on the ground, but it’s also a day that we can’t move on to the other parts of the agenda.
Siegel should be commended for asking why the Obama administration can’t wait one more month for approval considering there have already been no inspections for almost a year. But he should also have called Tauscher out on her equivocating verification with inspections. The New START Working Group explains: “The U.S. does not rely on treaty-based verification measures alone for insight into Russian strategic forces. Instead, it employs a variety of reconnaissance for gaining insight into Russian strategic forces. Further, the Departments of Defense and State have stated that Russian cheating under the New START would have little effect on the strategic balance.”