Wednesday, November 17, 2010

START the insanity

By Peter Henne

This should be no shock to anyone (although it's still distressing and aggravating); it looks like Jon Kyl -- Republican Senator from Arizona -- will not support the New START treaty. The treaty -- whose full name is the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty -- deals with US and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, and basically follows the arms control paradigm set forth by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Despite the treaty's moderate, almost conservative nature, and the support it has from several Republican luminaries -- such as Henry Kissinger -- it has faced significant opposition from many on the right. Much of this seems tied to neoconservative distaste for any arms control agreements, but I suspect the anti-intellectual mood of the current Republican Party might play a part in this (Kissinger is hardly a Christine O'Donnell).

The critiques of the treaty barely make sense. I'm not an expert on nuclear issues, but Fred Kaplan brilliantly skewered an op-ed by John Bolton and John Yoo that attacked New START. And Rob Diamond has pointed out Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen's support for the treaty.

There is no reason this treaty should not be ratified by the Senate. Of course, that means it probably won't be.

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