Obama & Administration Failures In New Start Treaty

The Washington Post recently reported that, subsequent to the ratification of the so-called “New START” Treaty, the

United States maintains a “major advantage over

Russia” in nuclear weapons. The Obama administration has insisted that implementation of the treaty “has been going very well indeed.”

A truth squad seems in order. And the Center for Security Policy is providing it with a critical analysis that examines that accord’s significant flaws and the deeply defective process that led to its ratification nearly a year ago.

The study, entitled Mapping a National Security Failure: The Ratification of the New START Treaty, was authored by Center Vice President Ben Lerner. It documents how the Obama administration sought to obscure the serious defects in the treaty it had negotiated by pressing the Senate to conduct its advice and consent responsibilities under circumstances that were calculated to render oversight exceedingly superficial and debate cursory, at best. The result is a now-ratified arms control agreement that poses real risks for

U.S. national security and presents a cautionary tale for the Senate to perform its constitutional role with respect to treaty-making very differently in the future.

Events subsequent to the Senate lame-duck vote on the New START Treaty only serve to reinforce concerns given short shrift at the time – notably, with respect to the inadvisability of cutting and otherwise allowing the further atrophying of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, at a time when every other nuclear power, including Russia, is modernizing its arsenal. Such events include:

According to recent news reports,

Russia is seeking to begin deploying a new class of ballistic missile submarines and their Bulava missiles before the end of 2012, preceded by sea trials of both. This is but one of the most significant elements of the Kremlin’s comprehensive modernization program of its land- and air-based strategic forces and tactical nuclear arsenal.

Bret Stephens recently reported in The Wall Street Journal, that

China has engaged in extensive underground tunneling that some analysts say is indicative of a Chinese nuclear arsenal much larger than previously calculated. Stephens goes on to point out that “

China is in the midst of a major nuclear modernization effort….”

Reuters reports the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency will be releasing a report next month which will provide further evidence that

Iran is moving forward with developing a nuclear weapon.

Against this worrying backdrop, the Washington Times reports that the Obama administration is contemplating even deeper cuts to

U.S. strategic forces than those called for in the New START treaty. To that end, it is conducting a so-called “mini-Nuclear Posture Review” – an interagency study assessing the status of and requirements for our deterrent.

It is widely believed that the President will use the pretext of now-pending budget cuts to advance his agenda of “ridding the world of nuclear weapons” by exemplary American action. In fact, Gen. Robert Kehler of U.S. Strategic Command also stated recently that the

United States may decide to move from a “triad” of nuclear delivery vehicles (submarines, bombers, and inter-continental ballistic missiles) to a “dyad” of only two types of delivery vehicles.

Key Findings of ‘New START –

Mapping a National Security Failure’:

According to the Lerner white paper, misleading claims by the treaty’s proponents played a critical role in securing Senate consent to the New START Treaty under the artificial deadline of the lame-duck legislative session:

Modernization: The Obama administration led key Senators to believe that it was committed to modernizing the

U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and strategic delivery systems in exchange for ratification of New START. In fact, the President has threatened to veto legislation that holds him to his pledge to modernize the nuclear deterrent.

Missile Defense: Administration spokesmen and women assured the Senate that New START did not limit the development of

U.S. missile defenses. Such representations were sharply at odds with repeated the Russians declarations that the treaty provided them with an effective “veto” over

U.S. missile defense development.

Verification: Mr. Obama and his subordinates claimed that New START had to be ratified in a lame-duck session of the Senate in order to ensure that the Russian nuclear posture could be effectively monitored and verified, despite evidence that the treaty's verification regime was flawed.

The Obama administration's determination to “reset” relations with

Russia and to advance its agenda of bringing about a “world without nuclear weapons” motivated it to press for ratification of New START even though the treaty overwhelmingly redounded to the benefit of


The New START treaty did not actually bring about a meaningful reduction in deployed Russian nuclear weapons, despite its supporters' claims (including the aforementioned representations by the Department of State).

Upon the release of the Center’s new study, the organization’s President and CEO, Frank Gaffney, observed:

With the benefit of hindsight, Ben Lerner has provided a compelling case study of the shortcomings of the New START treaty and rebutted contentions that it warranted expedited, let alone affirmative, consideration by the United States Senate. Hard historical experience with Soviet and Russian non-compliance on every other arms control accord should have told Senators that – even if this agreement’s terms were not so inimical to American interests – New START would not live up to its proponents’ over-the-top acclaim.

With the publication of New START – Mapping a National Security Failure, the Senate is on notice: President Obama is now compounding the damage done by the negotiation and ratification of New START by reportedly seeking to disarm

America further, perhaps unilaterally. Senators are charged by the Constitution with providing quality-control on treaties. It behooves them to ensure that there is no further, reckless diminution of the American deterrent, either by treaty or through executive action.

The full text of the study can be found at:http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18855.xml.

The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public.

For more information visit www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org.

For more information and to schedule an interview, contact

Travis Korson tkorson@securefreedom.org (202)-719-2421 or

David Reaboi dreaboi@securefreedom.org (202) 431-1948

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