Making the Case for New START

April 9th, 2010 at 12:30 pm | 23 Comments |

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The treaty agreement signed by President Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev to scale back the weaponry of the world’s two greatest nuclear powers still requires ratification of both governments. New START has the U.S. military’s full backing and has been endorsed by the country’s leading voices on national security from across the political spectrum, including prominent Republicans. Here are eight statements worth noting:

1. Joint statement issued by George Shultz, former Secretary of State; William Perry, former Secretary of Defense; Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State; and Senator Sam Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative

We strongly endorse the goals of this Treaty, and we hope that after careful and expeditious review that both the United States Senate and the Russian Federal Assembly will be able to ratify the Treaty.

2. Statement from Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The treaty enhances our ability to do that which we have been charged to do: protect and defend the citizens of the United States.

3. Statement from Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leader on nuclear reductions with Russia

I look forward to working quickly to achieve ratification of the new treaty.

4. Statement from Richard Burt, former ambassador to Germany and lead negotiator for the original accord under President George H.W. Bush

I was delighted to see the president not only focus on important steps that are contained in this treaty, but also focus on the need of follow-on negotiations to further reduce those weapons and continue toward the long-term goal of nuclear elimination.” Burt also said that Senate votes against the treaty would come from ”obstructionists and outliers in the goal of nuclear weapons reductions.

5. Statement from former Secretary of State Colin Powell in Nuclear Tipping Point, a documentary screened at the White House for President Obama (with many former secretaries of state and defense present)

This is the moment when we have to move forward, and all of us come together, to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and then eliminate them from the face of the earth.

6. Statement by Cardinal Francis E. George of the Archdiocese of Chicago in a letter to President Barack Obama

Based on a moral imperative to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the conference of bishops will be a steadfast supporter of strong and bipartisan action on the new treaty as an important and essential step toward a nuclear-free future. We will urge members of the U.S. Senate to come together across party lines to ratify the new START treaty.

7. Statement from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger also from the documentary Nuclear Tipping Point

Once nuclear weapons are used, we will be driven to take global measures to prevent it. Why don’t we do it now?

8. And finally, a statement from President Ronald Reagan

A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of this Earth.

Recent Posts by Marcia Smilack

23 Comments so far ↓

  • LFC

    Yeah, but Sarah Palin, the Goddess of Glib, knows better. You betcha’!

  • JHJ

    All the quotes, except for Sam Nunn, are (were, in the case of Reagan) from Republicans. Good ones, Marcia!

  • msmilack

    Even more importantly, they each put country first. George Schultz even described the act as beyond bi-partisan; he called it unpartisan. Thanks for your comment.

  • Carney

    Even Reagan was at times wrong, unless he was merely engaging in some somewhat cyncical propaganda to put pressure on the enemy. Dreaming of a nuclear free world is not just impractical, but dangerous in that it might persuade us to eliminate our deterrent.

  • mlloyd

    Great work assembling all these quotes. This treaty is a huge step forward for US security, moral authority, and relations with Russia and others.

  • rbottoms

    But… Marxist…Kenyan…New World Order…!!

  • msmilack

    Thanks for the compliment. I agree for all the reasons you cite. My fervent hope is that GOP senators put country ahead of party; if they obstruct, it will set us back decades. In an ideal world, Americans would feel proud of what Obama has achieved, and I suspect that if his name were e.g. Bush, they would feel proud in an instant. I long for a country where elected officials put country ahead of party. I’m looking forward to the international summit Obama is hosting on nuclear weapons next week. I wonder if the Russian president will have an easier time with the Duma than Obama will have with the Senate. So long, cold war.

  • msmilack

    Those are exactly the words Kissinger used (“new world order” which he meant as a compliment); he pointed out that Obama has a unique opportunity to achieve this goal at this moment of history largely because he is trusted by other nations. I rejoice.

  • MMK

    It would be irresponsible for the Republican senators to obstruct the ratification of the treaty in light of these statements from people who know more about the issues than they do, and foolish not only because it is a necessary first step that will protect America but also because it is a continuation of the work President George H. Bush’s administration did.

  • rbottoms

    It would be irresponsible for the Republican senators to obstruct the ratification of the treaty in light of these statements from people who know more about the issues than they do, and foolish not only because it is a necessary first step that will protect America but also because it is a continuation of the work President George H. Bush’s administration did.

    What’s any of that got to do with winning back the House in 2010?

  • msmilack

    The subject of the essay is the treaty and what it means, not winning back the house. But speaking of winning, the GOP needs to fix a lot of things before it wins back anything OR even if it wins back the house, it will do them no good unless its members remember their job is to govern, not simply to win: big difference. Saying no as a collective unit is not governing. They are missing the chance to shape policy. As David Frum has written and said (and I agree with him) even if they did win back the house, so what? If they aren’t really interested in governing responsibly, it won’t make any difference. . . just my opinion. Thanks for writing in.

  • kanerane2001

    I am new to this blog but I saw David on msnbc after the healthcare vote and he completely won me over. I have just recently become engrained in politics as seriously as I have in the last few years but never thought I would hear a rational republican voice during obama’s presidency like I did that nite. I would consider myself center-left but am sick of hearing one sided talking points especially from the gop’rs. Its like they have gone mad, like they were suppressed during the end of W’s term and the vitriol that was coming at him was unhealthy as well but this has just got ridiculous these guys in the gop gameplaned from the time obama was sworn in to just obstruct no matter what. That is so unhealthy I dont find it good when our country is shaped by a one-sided view no matter who is in charge. Why cant rational thinkers who are not trying to get elected on a 24 hour basis put their partisonship to the side and do what they were elected to do and shape our country for the better?
    When are they gonna wake up and realize obama is not going nywhere and come to table and have some input on policy making. OK got that off my chest kind of, so looks like David has some rational thinkers on this blog I enjoyed your post and felt a need to voice my opinion…… ok back to my rant I saw John Kyl yesterday on newshour and that fool is talking all-or-nothing bout ratification, what is this nonsense he says if obama’s npr has langauge excluding missle defense changes, if obama’s policy includes upgrading of current nuclear stockpile code.. defense contracts to build new weapons.. and if some other crap I got so mad I couldnt listen then he would consider voting for ratification. Three completely seperate issues then he might consider voting yes. I didnt realize how clueless our politicians have become until recently. It is so sad the loudest voices in the repub party come from the goldfish at fox who are only their to pillage their sheep viewers and make money on top of shaping your fathers GOP. Ok done feel even better, your post is very inciteful along with others on here. I enjoy hearing rational arguements and agree with alot of what is being floated on this site. Keep it up you give me hope!

  • msmilack

    I share your frustration. I discovered the FrumForum in much the same way as you i.e. I was drawn to the reasonable voice of David Frum. What I like best about writing for the FF is the chance to participate in finding a solution to those problems. Thank you for your contribution.

  • rbottoms

    The subject of the essay is the treaty and what it means, not winning back the house.

    To pretend that blaring Republican opposition to the treaty will be about anything more winning back the House and satisfying the paranoia of the Teabaggers is silly.

    Yes, there are substantive issues to be addressed and even valid criticisms that can b leveled at the Obama administration’s approach to nuclear arms reduction. Unfortunately all that will be discussed will be Sean Hannity’s willful disregard for any rational critique and what we’ll hear will be weeks of wailing on Fox about how the United States is now naked before its enemies.

    Your loss and David’s really, since that kind of crap will prevent anyone in the GOP who wants to be re-elected from making the slightest concession to Obama in order to make any changes to the treaty proposal and we’ll get a party line vote full of noise and fury signifying… well you know.

    The GOP has gone insane it seems.

    Or not insane, more like the Monster from the Conservative Id, raging outside Morbius’ lair in Forbidden Planet.

    The captain has revealed to Morbius that his evil self is at the door, and Fox is the Krell Science that will provide the monster with all the power it needs to break through and destroy everyone around it.

    What happens next is anyone’s guess.

  • msmilack

    I’m confused by your comment (or are you confused by mine?) Here is my view. Nothing would make me happier than if the GOP agreed to ratify the treaty as the treaty is necessary; additionally, in my opinion, it represents a remarkable achievement in an effort that was initiated originally by Reagan, which was continued by Bush and has now been completed by Obama (though it is an early stage of the ultimate goal). The agreement with Russia is a good one for this country’s long-term security (keeping nukes out of the hands of terrorists, e.g.) Yet it is likely that the GOP will obstruct as a political tactic. This bothers me. I think it is immoral to put their own concerns with winning ahead of what is best for the people they represent.

    In any event, you are entitled to your own opinion just as I am entitled to mine; that is what I love most about living in a democracy. And I believe such dialogue is healthy and essential, especially between those who do not agree.

  • msmilack

    I just re-read your comment again and don’t really see where we disagree. I can easily see the scenario of how this will play out as you describe it. Also, I like your description of the monster from the conservative ID. Good metaphor.

  • rbottoms

    Good metaphor.

    My favorite 50′s SciFi movie after Day the Earth Stood Still, scared the crap out of me as a kid.

    The GOP is just like Mobius, having called up this Family Values creature to win elections in the 80′s, he can’t shut it off and Fox is literally feeding up unlimited power. They may take down the Belarathon in November 2010, but the monster will turn on them in 2012. Next time you see Glenn Beck think of the line, “My evil self is at the door, and I have no power to stop it.”

  • msmilack

    I definitely will think back to that line the next time I see Glenn Beck! Thanks for the new reference but (though I admit that scary movies tend to be too much for me; guaranteed nightmare for me). Anyway, it sounds like a good way to see him, so thanks!

  • mohairone

    the GOP agenda has always been to sabotage Obama and return to power, regardless of the issue or consequences… governance, the best interests of this county and its citizens are an afterthought at best… START ratification will be no exception..
    thanks for this, Marcia; keep them coming!

  • sinz54

    Carney: Even Reagan was at times wrong, unless he was merely engaging in some somewhat cynical propaganda to put pressure on the enemy. Dreaming of a nuclear free world is not just impractical, but dangerous in that it might persuade us to eliminate our deterrent.
    As we saw on 9-11, a clever enemy can launch a crippling strike against America even without ICBMs.

    And al-Qaeda wasn’t and still isn’t deterred by our thousands of nuclear weapons. Why is that, do you suppose?

    This treaty Obama signed is an anachronism.
    Nobody worries about a nuclear attack by Russian ballistic missiles anymore, just like we don’t worry that France will launch their nuclear weapons against us. I stopped thinking about that, the day they hauled the Hammer-and-Sickle down from the Kremlin. Hey, we could also negotiate with Russia to ban galleons or dreadnaughts. :-)

    We built all those thousands of nukes to deter Russia. Does Russia really need to be deterred from nuking America anymore? Why would they? They’re a struggling state with a dim future, as far as I can see.

    Does China need to be deterred from nuking America? Why would they go to war against America?

    Let’s stop talking about the treaty (which solved a problem that doesn’t exist anymore except in the minds of the feverish Left)–and start talking about strategy to deal with enemies like Iran or al-Qaeda, who have figured out how to defy America with all her nukes.

    The Cold War mindset is still impressed on too many people–all across the political spectrum.

  • msmilack

    As I understand it, the fear is that a terrorist group will get a hold of a nuclear weapon if the loose ones are still floating around, and by working with Russia to start, it is a first step toward mitigating that possibility. The two nations with over 90 percent of the nuclear weapons on the planet agreed to get rid of a substantial number of them; this will bring the nuclear arms race back to levels the world has not seen since the 1960s.
    Meanwhile, I am interested in hearing what the discussion will be with the 47 nations who are visiting the USA this coming week to discuss what else can be done. In the old days, nuclear power was supposed to make us feel safer; today, it is just the opposite. Thanks for commenting.

  • forkboy1965

    sinz54 forgets one important aspect: Russia’s move towards democracy (if we can really call it that any as I believe oligarchy is a more appropriate term) is fleeting and fragile at best. A return to an anti-American/anti-West bent is not impossible.

    Working to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in their arsenal (and by default ours) is and remains an important policy.

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