While many people were rightly upset over a recent piece in The Cable by Josh Rogin entitled “‘New START” dead on arrival?” they may have overlooked some very important words by Arizona Senator John Kyl.
Kyl is the bête noire of those promoting a new nuclear reductions treaty and a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
He has sent a series of missives along with many of his colleagues raising issues such as nuclear weapons modernization and missile defense. He has also delivered a number of speeches on the same topics.
As the British would say, he is constantly throwing a spanner into the works (i.e., monkey wrenches).
But check out what Sen. Kyl said in the Rogin story:
“Unless it is accompanied by a [nuclear] modernization program that satisfies the requirements of the secretary of defense, it would be very difficult for the Senate to support the new START treaty.”
If that is his gold standard, then he will get his wish — perhaps the gold, silver and bronze…
Defense Secretary Gates is one of the key architects of the Administration’s nuclear weapons policy as reflected in the recent Obama budget submission, the on-going Nuclear Posture Review and Vice President Biden’s recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Just last week, Secretary Gates introduced the Vice President at his National Defense University speech explaining the Administration’s nuclear weapons policy.
Also there was State Department Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, National Nuclear Security Agency Administrator Thomas D’Agostino and other officials.
The message was clear: The Obama nuclear policies are the Obama-Biden-Gates-Cartwright-Tauscher-D’Agostino nuclear policies.
If Senator Kyl will only support New START if Gates is happy with the nuclear modernization program, then we have, in the immortal words of George Tenet, a slam dunk.
Kyl did not stop with that quote.
He went on to express his concerns about Russian statements about missile defense.
But again, let’s look at the tape.
On nuclear modernization, he suggested it would be “very difficult for the Senate to
support” the new treaty unless Gates concerns have been answered.
On Russian assertions, he used milder words such “very troubling” and “very damaging.”
In no event did Senator Kyl say he would oppose the new treaty — unless Gates is not a happy man.
Kyl clearly will continue throwing spanners into the works.
But pay close attention to his words. He continues to stop short of outright opposition to New START.