New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen chews up a large chunk of the Sunday Union Leader’s opinion page to sell us on president Obama’s START treaty with Russia. Most of the words revolve around suggesting this will enhance security, that it is a good deal for America, and that there are a busload of experts, past and current military, former Secretaries of State, ex-presidents and sundry others who agree that this Treaty should be ratified. But a few things stand between taking this at face value and moving forward on her recommendation.
First, Mr. Obama, a man who has excelled at degrading his own country, and minimizing its global influence, wants it real bad. Not a good sign.
Second, look at the context. What would we say if this was George Bush, wasting political energy and government time and resources, to advance something like this when we should have all our attention on the failure of the debt commission to agree to its own recommendations? Should we not still have all eyes and all hands dealing with a looming tax increase that could send the economy into a bigger tailspin just a few weeks from now? What about the deficit? Where is the laser like focus? Why not job growth polices–other than using the extension of unemployment benefits for class warfare against opponents who just want it paid for from some dark corner of Obama’s multi-trillion dollar budget or one of his many slush funds. Why START now?
Third, and this ties into the first, START is to strategic nuclear security what Obamacare was to Health care. Its pursuit appears almost Pyrrhic, as if the victory must come regardless of the cost. So this is not a strategic defense effort, it is just another feather in Obama’s agenda cap. And with the brakes now being applied to his agenda come January 3rd, he is more obsessed with the Obama of history than the one responsible for national, and based on how they are selling it, Global security.
But like everything else that comes out of the administration or the drooling mouths of the party lap-dogs assigned to promote it, this is predicated on their standard template. "We can’t just do nothing" and "Things could be worse."
If we search the landscape of the Obama Presidency however, neither of these ideas is compelling. If we actually look at what Obama is willing to pass off as ‘doing something,’ it looks as if he has just bowed to another foreign leader, only this time over a nuclear weapons treaty.
The major problems I can find so far, are these.
According to Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, the treaty is limited to strategic (long range) nuclear weapons and their facilities and ignores tactical nuclear weapons. This is important; Monroe claims the Russians have a 10-1 advantage in these multi-platform nukes; portable launchers, nukes on subs, and so on, which could easily destroy all the lefts coastal utopias from a few miles off-shore.
He also says that the Russians have focused most of their research on improving and developing these very kinds of weapons, while America has done almost nothing to advance technology in this area. The end result is that Russia has or would maintain that 10-1 advantage in numbers on tactical nuclear weapons along with any advances in ‘in-theater’ delivery systems with this proposed treaty in place.
Someone should ask Senator Shaheen how she can insist as she does in her editorial, that new START helps us protect our allies given the exclusion of these weapons from the treaty–weapons which can freely proliferate in striking distance of our allies, or maybe even end up in the hands of our (other?) enemies, as there appears to be nothing in START to stop Russia from selling them to whomever they choose. Given that they are willing to sell missile technology to Iran, and the fact that they need the currency, why there are no limits on these weapons should be more than enough to kill START and move towards re-START, a treaty that addresses this 800 pound gorilla.
Another problem with war-heads in this treaty? There does not appear to be a limit to the number of unmounted strategic warheads that can be staged ‘for test purposes,’ nor any way to confirm how many are actually mounted on any given missile. All things being equal, it looks like we could confirm the number of land based missiles and little else. This might be well and good, except that Obama is not simply obsessed with killing efforts to modernize our own current stockpile, which Russia is willing let us do, he is committed to shrinking it even while allowing a country that for all intents and purposes can’t possible compete with us, gain significant advantages on every nuclear front. Sort of a "we’ll tie our arms behind our back while you sucker punch us" kind of diplomacy.
START gives the Russians every incentive to build more of whatever they want, even after START is signed, because the much vaunted and desperately needed "inspection regime" will never be able to identify exactly how many strategic nukes are available to our Russian ‘friends’ while ignoring stockpiles of tactical Nukes which outnumber our own.
The second major problem (if the first were not bad enough) is Mr. Obama’s willingness to let Russia dictate terms on non nuclear defense umbrellas like anti-missile systems, as part of this strategic nuclear treaty. We see this manifest in his acquiescence to language that suggests our anti-missile technology must be curtailed as part of any new treaty. The advantage again goes to Russia which has no such systems in place to negotiate with. Obama is just giving it up for nothing. Is it because Obama is against missile defense?
So we have a president who hates his own nuclear arsenal, does not approve of a non nuclear missile defense system, and is pushing hard for a political victory on a treaty that is a win-win for Russia and a lose-lose for the US. A treaty that does nothing substantial to enhance global security, but that like most Obama policy, has some window dressing to fool the faithful and distract the disinterested.
And as if that were not enough. The US is now prepared to lease a Wyoming Uranium mine to a Russian company and…has now announced it is going to tie the passage of START to a bill to prevent the impending tax increases on January 1st. (speculated–may have since changed)
So as we look back at the spirit of Senator Shaheen’s missive, we must find it lacking. Like bank reform, jobs bills, loads of spending, health care, and even all the way back to the stimulus, the democrat is just a salesman for Obama’s propaganda mill, forced to ignore all the bad things–bad things that are each on their own deal breakers–and to simply convince people that it’s the right thing to do.
It is not. We need to stop START and re-START. This treaty is bad for America, and Jeanne Shaheen should know that.