While the meeting took place behind close doors, the President had this to say about his two-hour chat with the Democratic and Republicans leaders of the House and the Senate:
I reminded the room that this treaty has been vetted for seven months now; it’s gone through 18 hearings; it has support from senators of both parties; it has broad bipartisan support from national security advisers and secretaries of Defense and secretaries of State from previous administrations, both Democrat and Republican; and that it’s absolutely essential to our national security. We need to get it done.
If only we knew what the treaty actually meant.
Indeed, six months after Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee formally requested access to the negotiation records to clarify a crucially important ambiguity in the treaty, New START’s implications remain unclear.
Steven Groves has shown how the treaty’s reference to “the interrelationship between strategic offensive and defensive arms” in the preamble is ambiguous and has been interpreted very differently by the United States and the Russian Federation. The Obama administration and the Russians not only disagree about the meaning of the preamble, they don’t even agree about its legal status. While the State Department maintains the “preambular language is not legally binding,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says it is “legally binding.”
The Obama administration’s continued refusal to grant access to the negotiation record prevents an informed debate and deliberation in the Senate, thereby obstructing the Senate’s constitutionally mandated role to provide “advice and consent” on all U.S. treaties. As Marion Smith has argued:
This denial is tantamount to refusing the Senate an honest debate and undermines the Senate’s role in providing advice and consent. For many on the Left, however, the lack of debate is not a problem since the virtues of arms control are assumed and any debate is viewed as divisive partisanship. But Senators and the American people should not accept this misunderstanding of the Senate’s function. Policy arguments are not disruptive to the legislative process; informed debate is essential to deliberation.
Like President Washington who enabled Senators to exercise fully their constitutional role by providing negotiation records surrounding the Jay Treaty, President Obama must help the Senate resolve any lingering ambiguities before any vote takes place.
Denying and usurping governmental power is old hat by now to Barry the Dictator.
And there are way too many giveaways of advantage to Russia, and possible undermining of our defenses of ourselves and Allies:
Russia has moved short-range tactical nuclear warheads to facilities near NATO borders this spring. This revelation comes amidst the Obama Administration’s efforts to pass New START, a strategic arms control agreement with Russia, in the “lame duck” session of the Congress.
Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Council of the Federation (the upper house of Russia’s parliament) foreign affairs committee, brushed off the news, stating, “We have relations of trust now with our American partners and don’t take any steps without informing our partners and consulting with them.” He does not say that the WSJ report is untrue.
However, the Russian Federation has no interest in eliminating its massive tactical nuclear weapons arsenal, which is 10 times stronger than the U.S.’s. That is why Russia insisted that tactical nuclear weapons are not mentioned in New START.
During the Bush Administration, Russia used its advantage in tactical nukes to intimidate NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic into cancelling the ballistic missile defense plans on their territory. Moscow threatened to deploy Iskander short-range nuclear missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between the borders of Poland and Lithuania. With Washington’s support, the threat tactics failed.
For decades, NATO allies have relied on the U.S. strategic nuclear weapons to deter Soviet and later Russian aggression. This mechanism is often referred to as “expended deterrence,” as it extends the U.S. nuclear might to protect its allies. However, because the U.S. withdrew almost all of its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, leaving its NATO allies still within range of Russia’s superior tactical nuclear arsenal, the U.S. extended deterrence is threatened. Allies may think that the U.S. will not use its strategic weapons if they are attacked.
So, Barry is looking to further emasculate our defenses in Europe, thereby ceding most of Europe to Russian control and domination. Not since FDR and co. allowed Stalin to take over Europe and keep German occupied lands has the United States so willingly sold out her allies. This is a bad idea that needs further discussion, at the very least, and ramming it down a lame duck session is not good government.
Even some Democrats agree this should have further review and discussion:
“Most of the (legislation) being dealt with right now should be held over until 2011, because we should be focused on jobs, taxes, and debt reduction,” Nelson says. “I think we can hold off on START; I don’t want it to crowd out taxes, debt reduction, and jobs.”