The New START Treaty could help our troops in Afghanistan and help deter Iran’s nuclear program


Yesterday, I wrote HERE about how Republican efforts to block Senate ratification of the New START Treaty are born of blind Obamaphobia.

Today, I offer a WORTHY PIECE by Peter Beinart about a few of the potential consequences of killing the treaty.

Of Republican Sen. John Kyl (above), a leader of the anti-treaty forces, Beinart writes:

Now he’s set to sink the START treaty because, he says, the Obama administration is still not ponying up enough for nuclear modernization. But there’s a reason that Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, and most of the Republican—not to mention Democratic—foreign-policy establishment is begging for ratification. Because killing the treaty will wreck America’s relations with Russia at a time when we need Moscow’s help to get supplies to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and when we’re hoping the Russians will apply pressure on Iran to halt their nuclear program. Is Kyl more concerned about maintaining America’s nuclear stockpile than preventing Iran from developing one? Would he rather build new weapons labs than keep the Taliban from power? We’ll never know because Kyl doesn’t think like that. In foreign policy, as in fiscal policy, he and most of his fellow Republican leaders want everything and its opposite. They don’t have a clue how to govern in an era in which money and power are massively constrained.

UPDATE: There’s more HERE about the relationship between the New START Treat and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

An excerpt:

If the U.S. doesn’t ratify New START, experts say it will prove to Russia that the U.S. can’t deliver on its end of that “reset.” Failing to ratify New START could mean a diminished incentive for Russia to formulate its Iran policy based on U.S. objectives, especially because Russia has both economic and geopolitical incentives for maintaining a positive relationship with Iran. Selling Iran weapons is lucrative, and positive ties with Iran means Russia has a geostrategic advantage in the region.

Even if it doesn’t revive the surface-to-air missile contract, it could still back off on sanctions to Iran, and strengthen the Islamic Republic indirectly. Still, Russia doesn’t want Iran to emerge as a nuclear weapons state. “In a lot of ways, in the last 15 years, [Russia] has tried to have it both ways,” explains James Goldgeier, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. “They’ve tried to keep the relationship with Iran going without letting it get to the point where Iran would actually have a nuclear weapons program.”



  1. Perhaps if the new START treaty actually asked for concessions from the Russian side, it might actually gather some GOP votes.

    Rich Lowry explains:

    “The case for New START is so weak that we’d better hope the fate of the planet doesn’t hinge on it. It places a limit on strategic warheads of 1,550, and a limit on deployed delivery vehicles – missiles, bombers, submarines – at 700. Even in theory, this isn’t much of a cut in warheads. Under the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, Russia and the United States had already agreed to arsenals of 2,200 to 1,700 each.

    Here’s the catch: The Russians are already beneath 700 launchers. The aging of their arsenal, coupled with economic constraints, means that they aren’t going higher regardless. Effectively, New START only mandates cuts on us, and we make concessions to the Russians for the privilege. This is classic Obama chump diplomacy.”


  2. Besides, Andrei Kortunov from the Moscow Times thinks a New START’s failure isn’t so bad….

    “Of course, even if one side…were to reject the treaty, it would not be the end of the world. Neither the Kremlin nor the White House wants a new Cold War. What’s more, there is reason to believe that both sides will de facto abide by the terms of the treaty — at least pertaining to reductions in their nuclear arsenals. A new arms race between Russia and the United States is highly unlikely owing to the budget deficits, economic problems and numerous national security problems that both sides face.”


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