Dispatches from the Creation Wars

GOP Playing Games With START Treaty

Every single living Secretary of State, and Secretary of Defense and National Security Adviser, including Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, agrees that the new START treaty negotiated between the United States and Russia is crucial for our national security. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the passage of the treaty is urgent. For crying out loud, even Pat Buchanan says that the GOP is risking another cold war by holding up the treaty.

The treaty puts back in place a verification regime for nuclear weapons that expired last year and reduces the risks of nuclear proliferation. It reduces the number of nuclear warheads for each country to 1,550 — more than enough to blow up the world many times over.


But the Republicans are balking at the deal, even though their own experts say the treaty is vital. They’re playing games with this despite the fact that delay only hurts the nation’s standing with allies around the world.

“It would be a serious problem if the Senate does not approve the treaty,” said John B. Bellinger III, a legal adviser to the State Department and the National Security Council during President George W. Bush’s administration. “You can certainly understand that every other country in the world, and particularly major powers like China, the next time they are in negotiations with the United States — this will hurt us if they think our negotiators can’t make good on their word.”

But the GOP doesn’t care. This is all about denying Obama a foreign policy victory, no matter what the cost. Remember McCain’s “Country First” theme? It was a lie.