Obama aims for second lame-duck victory with START treaty push

December 18, 2010 10:41

Obama invoked Ronald Reagan who never would have given up missile defense to pass START in his near hysterical push for passage in the lame duck congress.

Alexander Bolton at The Hill reports:

[Obama said] “And that’s why every president since Ronald Reagan has pursued a treaty like START, and every one that has been reviewed by the Senate has passed with strong bipartisan support,” Obama said, invoking Reagan’s name a second time in his short address.

But the Heritage Foundation explains that is not the case:

But while President Reagan did negotiate and sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the Soviet Union, does that mean he would sign any agreement that reduced U.S. nuclear weapons? No. Heritage Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Kim Holmes explains:

Many people, even in the Administration, have argued that what the President wants to do is similar to what Ronald Reagan wanted to do when he talked about making nuclear weapons obsolete. I assure you this is not the case. I was working this issue in the 1980s, and nothing could be further from the truth, because while Reagan, like most people, believed we should reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons, he did not envision their complete elimination coming about through the treaty process.

To prove this point, I ask one question: Why did Ronald Reagan walk away from Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer to eliminate nuclear weapons if only we gave up the Strategic Defense Initiative? Why did Reagan not take him up on that offer? The reason is that Reagan believed strategic defenses were the essential ingredient in disarmament—the exact opposite of what Gorbachev’s vision was then and President Obama’s vision is today.

Whereas Russia wanted to limit our defenses in order to give its nuclear weapons a free shot at us, and since it couldn’t compete with us technologically, Reagan believed that only when our strategic defenses were advanced and successful enough could our offensive forces be safely reduced or even eliminated. In other words, he believed that strategic defenses made nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete, not treaties—which, by the way, he said must be met with a skeptical attitude of “trust but verify.”

President Obama’s New START has at least 12 fatal flaws, including limitations on missile defense that President Reagan would never have agreed to. Specifically, President Obama’s New START limits U.S. missile defense in five ways:

1. Paragraph 9 of the Preamble. As described above, this language in the Preamble established a bias against missile defense in the essential context of New START. It also establishes a logic that will impose ever-greater restrictions on missile defense as the U.S. and Russia pursue additional arms control steps. This logic will also direct that U.S. missile defense capabilities be reduced in accordance with the reduction in the strategic offensive arms of Russia because the defenses will otherwise “undermine the viability and effectiveness” of Russia’s offensive strategic force.

2. Paragraph 3 of Article V. This provision prohibits conversion of offensive strategic missile launchers to launchers of defensive interceptors and vice versa. While the Obama Administration has no plans in its missile defense program to convert launchers of offensive strategic missiles to launchers of defensive interceptors, it is a step that the U.S. has taken in the past. A currently unforeseen circumstance could make it advantageous for the U.S. to take this step in the future.

3. Limits on some kinds of strategic target missiles and their launchers used in missile defense tests. There is an array of provisions in New START that limit and restrict certain types of missiles and missile launchers that are used as targets in missile defense tests. Specifically, these are target missiles that share a first stage with strategic missiles limited by the treaty and their associated launchers.

4. Article XII and Part Six of the Protocol. These provisions of New START create an implementing body, called the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC), and gives it a broad mandate to promote the objectives of the treaty. This broad mandate could permit it to impose additional restrictions on the U.S. missile defense program.

5. Article IX, Part Seven of the Protocol and the Annex on Telemetric Information to the Protocol. These provisions could be interpreted in a way that could lead the U.S. to share telemetric information from missile defense tests. While the provisions, even if applied to missile defense tests, do not impose a direct restriction on the conduct of a missile defense tests, they could as a practical matter. It is possible that the sharing of telemetric information from missile defense tests could be used by the recipient to determine what kinds of missiles U.S. defensive systems are able of countering effectively and what kinds of missiles they are less effective in countering.

Calling it an issue of ‘national security’ Obama said the START treaty should be approved by the lame duck senate.

The START treaty with Russia has too many flaws to be agreed to. It is one sided and diminishes our national security. Call your senator and tell them to vote no 202-224-3121.

One of the main problems with the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is that for the first time it gives in to the Russian idea that missile defense is linked to offensive weapons. This is a major concession to Russia that Obama has made effectively giving Russia veto power to our growing a defensive missile shield at a time when more nations such as Iran, china and North Korea are developing long range missiles.

The treaty also prohibits our converting  missile silos and missile launching submarines as launch platforms for defensive missiles.  This would take a potential defensive option off the table and require us to try to eliminate inbound missiles closer to home.

Most disturbing is language in the treaty that creates an unaccountable commission called the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC). This commission follows the Obama pattern of bypassing authority of congress and allowing unelected bureaucrats the power to actually change definitions and agreed statements in the treaty. In effect, this would mean that after the treaty is ratified its entire meaning could be changed without congressional approval. What utter nonsense.

At least the Republicans have offered a change that would prohibit a the U.S.-Russian panel established in the treaty from forging side agreements on missile defenses but is that enough? If the panel still has the authority to massage a few meanings or agreements in other areas without senate consent it becomes a discussion of what the meaning of is is.

The new treaty does not require Russia to make any substantive changes. Due to aging of its systems the Russians are already self limiting to the treaty numbers. The US will effectively be making unilateral reductions and get nothing in return.

The treaty also allows the Russians to maintain a ten to one advantage in tactical nuclear weapons.

The treaty treats multiple warhead bombers as one warhead. The Russians are developing a long range bomber program. As the US aging fleet of bombers is retired the Russians can exceed the 1,550 limits by deploying multiple warhead bombers. Rail  based systems are also excluded. By launching from rail platforms additional warheads would be totally exempt.

This START treaty is a major victory for the Russians. There are many more reasons that this treaty is bad for the US. Read the articles below and then CALL YOUR SENATOR! 202-224-3121

~ Michael Whipple, Editor usACTIONnews.com

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