With President Obama rushing to push through the START treaty before the Senate become decisively more Republican on January first, more and more information is leaking out showing the treaty as bad for the United States. Eli Lake of the Washington Times has discovered that Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri is now opposing ratification because of a classified intelligence report stating that Russian compliance with the treaty elements is unverifiable and that Moscow is manipulating the treaty to prevent the U.S. from expanding missile defenses.
“New START suffers from fundamental flaws that no amount of tinkering around the edges can fix. I believe the better course for our nation, and for global stability, is to put this treaty aside and replace it with a better one,” Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, said in a little-noticed floor statement last week.
Mr. Bond, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said he outlined the problems with the treaty in a classified letter to senators and then presented several comments based on the secret intelligence explaining why, as he put it, “I cannot in good conscience support this treaty.”
A super-majority of a two-thirds vote is required for Senate approval of a treaty. Unlike the filibuster this super-majority provision is stated in the Constitution. Article II, section 2, of the Constitution states that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” It is rare that the Senate hasn’t approved a treaty.
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Minority Whip Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, earlier called for debate on ratification to be put off during the lame-duck session of the Senate because he had concerns about U.S. nuclear modernization and treaty constraints on missile defense and conventional long-range strike weapons.
Senator Bond’s objections seem to go even further. He said the new treaty is considerably weaker than the one it replaces and does not allow for verification by inspectors and spy satellites.
Key intelligence assessments and testimony from analysts on the U.S. ability to monitor compliance with the treaty has left “no doubt in my mind that the United States cannot reliably verify the treaty’s 1,550 limit on deployed warheads,” Mr. Bond said.
For example, the 10 annual warhead inspections in Russia will limit checks to 2 percent to 3 percent of the Russian strategic forces, he said.
Additionally, all missiles can be armed with unlimited numbers of warheads. “So even if the Russians fully cooperated in every inspection, these inspections cannot provide conclusive evidence of whether the Russians are complying with the warhead limit,” he said.
Also, the treaty provides no limits on the number of warheads Russia can place on a missile it is testing. “The Russians could deploy a missile with only one warhead, but legally flight-test it with six warheads to gain confidence in the increased capability — a practice they could not employ under the original START,” Mr. Bond said.
Another problem with the treaty according to Bond is that Russia could trash the treaty in a very short time, and they could increase their arsenal without the US finding out before its too late.
This treaty is another example of the naivete’ and weakness of the President’s foreign policy team. They have this “kumbaya” notion that just by reducing our capability all the other nations of the world are going to sit down an sing kumbaya with us. Just like the President’s economic plan, this treaty puts our children and our children’s children in danger.