Former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation Paula DeSutter has spent most of the summer arguing that the New START treaty drops the ball on verification. This is a pretty daft claim, since DeSutter was one of the ring leaders for an administration that believed verification was neither necessary nor useful. Recall that the Moscow Treaty was entirely devoid of any detailed data exchanges and monitoring and verification provisions. In the eyes of DeSutter, President Reagan’s signature phrase “trust but verify” read “trust but don’t verify”.
Both Kelsey Hartigan and Greg Thielmann have penned great take-downs of DeSutter’s latest contribution, which is particularly stunning and riddled with obfuscation. Writing in the National Review earlier this week, DeSutter alleges:
Had the administration deemed the data provided under START to be critical, they could have extended the START treaty until negotiations on New START were completed and it was ratified by the U.S. and Russia. Instead, they let START expire and negotiated against a deadline after making clear their desperate desire for getting an agreement.[emphasis mine.]
Alas, the 2007 version of Paula DeSutter made an extension of START I next to impossible:
While the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty or START “has been important and for the most part has done its job,” Assistant Secretary of State Paula DeSutter told Reuters the pact is cumbersome and its complicated reporting standards have outlived their usefulness.
In the post-Cold war era, many provisions of the 1991 START accord, which mandated deep nuclear weapons cuts, “are no longer necessary. We don’t believe we’re in a place where we need have to have the detailed lists (of weapons) and verification measures,” added DeSutter.[emphasis mine.]
Kelsey also points out that DeSutter ran roughshod over the verification provisions in other key arms control treaties.
In last week’s Washington Post, Walter Pincus noted that the standard by which many Republican Senators are judging New START is markedly different from the one they used to judge the George W. Bush administration’s Moscow Treaty. As we’ve noted on the blog before, nowhere is this more evident than on the issue of verification. See below the jump for some choice comments from select Republican Senators on verification during the Moscow treaty debate. Could it be, as former Bush I national security adviser Brent Scowcroft has suggested, that “some just don’t want to give Obama a victory” before the midterm elections?
Remember, “trust, but don’t verify”…
Sen. Wayne Allard
What is most notable about the Moscow Treaty as submitted to this body is the absence of certain provisions that normally marked Cold War era arms control treaties. Those provisions were based on distrust and antagonism. Instead, this treaty utilizes confidence building measures based on trust and friendship.
March 5, 2003
Sen. Bill Frist
Many have observed the extraordinary ease by which this treaty was negotiated and compare its three short pages—indeed, it is just three short pages—to the many thousands of pages of documents negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war.
This last point is, for me, the most significant of all, for as important as the substance of this treaty is, it is the form—the trust between the United States and Russia—that most shines through.
March 5, 2003
Sen. John Warner
The Moscow Treaty is unlike any treaty we have had before. It is the first arms control treaty to embrace the new Russian-U.S. strategic relationship. In negotiating this treaty, both sides consciously rejected the cold war mentality of distrust and hostility that previously had required lengthy negotiations and extensive legal structures and detailed verification regimes to ensure that both sides would abide by their treaty obligations.
March 5, 2003
Sen. Jon Kyl
This treaty is a masterstroke. It represents, and, I am sure, will be sent as ushering in a wholly new approach to arms control for a wholly new era. The simplicity of this treaty is a marvel. It is extremely brief, indeed just three pages long. It is shorn of the tortured benchmarks, sublimits, arcane definitions and monitoring provisions that weighed down past arms control treaties.
This is for a very good reason. The simplicity and brevity of this treaty reflect the simple fact that the US and Russia have moved beyond the enmity of the cold war era. The treaty recognizes this fact. It assumes a degree of trust between nations that are no longer on the precipice of war.
March 6, 2003
Sen. Jim Bunning
I believe the level of verification in this treaty is what is needed.
March 6, 2003