The National Journal is serving as a forum for “debate” today on the merits of the New START treaty. I threw some scare quotes around debate since there is overwhelming support for the treaty among current and former national security leaders and experts from both parties. Our own John Isaacs was asked for his two cents. Here’s a teaser:
Kerry and Lugar are correct to move to a vote, and then work for a unanimous consent agreement for a floor vote. Most of the GOP Senators’ questions about the treaty relate to issues not within the four corners of the treaty: the pace of U.S. nuclear modernization and our commitment to missile defense, to name two. These are issues that can be dealt with through the resolution of ratification and White House negotiations with key Republicans. Even Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has called the treaty “benign.”
The treaty clearly enhances U.S. national security. It is overwhelmingly supported by our military leadership and past high ranking national security officials of both parties, including Republicans such as James Schlesinger, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Colin Powell. Only when the treaty enters into effect, the U.S. can resume onsite inspection of Russian nuclear weapons and facilities – suspended about 280 days ago.
On Thursday (Sept. 16) the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is (once again) scheduled to vote on a resolution of ratification on New START, providing a key group of Senators with the opportunity to demonstrate to America and the world that it is serious about nuclear security. Hopefully the rest of the Senate will soon have the same opportunity. As just-retired Center intern Alex Rothman writes:
Even with midterm elections approaching, our national security shouldn’t be a partisan issue. New START would make America safer by reducing the nuclear threat from Russia without infringing upon our ability to maintain our deterrent or deploy effective missile defenses.
The Senate should approve the treaty this fall. A better deal would be hard to find.