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AP Ignores Major START Stops

An April 9th Associated Press Anne Flaherty article claims “Republicans expected to line up behind New START.” Flaherty reports:

Despite near gridlock in the Senate, Republicans were expected to swing behind a new arms control treaty with Russia that President Barack Obama said they will like, even though some are reserving judgment until Obama can assure them the pact won’t set back U.S. defenses against other potential foes such as North Korea and Iran.

Republicans, however, did not rush to either praise or criticize the treaty. They want Obama to promise it won’t undercut the nation’s ability to set up missile defenses to protect against an attack from Iran or North Korea.

But what Flaherty fails to report is that immediately after the treaty was signed, the Kremlin issued a statement making it clear they would pull out of the treaty if the U.S. pursued their existing missile defense strategy. Why should the Senate approve a treaty that the other country has already said they have no intention of honoring? Worse, as Heritage fellow baker Spring points out, the preamble of the treaty substantively links offensive strategic arms and missile defenses. Contrary to established U.S. policy, the language asserts that missile defense capabilities must come down as the numbers of strategic nuclear arms come down.

Flaherty also notes that “the president’s modernization plan for the nation’s nuclear arsenal would also bear” on Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) vote. But Kyl is by far not the only one who concerned with nuclear modernization. So is the law. Sec 1251 of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act the modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons and infrastructure before any new arms control agreement can be signed. Considering that President Obama’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) forbids any development of new U.S. nuclear weapons, one might expect all Senators, nit just Republicans too be lining up against, not for, Obama’s New START.