The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The top 10 reasons why New START is a non-starter

Photo of James Carafano
James Carafano
Director, Heritage Foundation's Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies

# 10. An Out-moded, Unreliable Nuclear Arsenal Is No Deterrent. New START offers no assurance that the U.S. nuclear force will be an effective deterrent in the future. President Obama has already declared he won’t replace and modernize the nuclear arsenal. Yes, he said he would spend billions on the supporting infrastructure and called that “modernization.” But that’s like saying you’ll take your car to Jiffy-Lube and calling it a transportation system “modernization” initiative. Furthermore, Obama’s budget still underfunds our nuclear support structure — and delays most of the funding to out-years after the president’s term expires. Obama’s claim to the mantel of nuclear modernization is bogus.

#9. Making Russia a More Dominant Nuclear Power Is Bad Strategy. Why empower a country that invades and threatens its neighbors and works everyday to extinguish the light of democracy within its borders? That’s what this treaty will do. The Russians will not walk hand-in-hand with President Obama the full length of the “road to zero” (a world without nuclear weapons). Nukes remain the cornerstone of Russia’s military and foreign relations strategy. Even before New START negotiations began, Moscow had made clear it planned to reduce its stockpiles of aging, strategic nuclear weapons, replacing them with a combination of upgraded strategic and tactical nukes. New START accommodates that plan quite nicely. Russia’s 10,000-plus tactical nuclear weapons (a 10-to-one advantage over NATO) are not covered by the treaty. Under New START, the U.S. cuts more weapons and launchers than Russia. Indeed, it allows Moscow to build more launchers. Bottom line: The treaty assures that Russia will one day have a qualitative and quantitative advantage over the U.S.

#8. Reagan Would Have Hated New START. Conservatives are for arms control. President Reagan negotiated the largest reduction in nuclear arsenals in history. But Reagan believed in a “protect and defend” strategy, maintaining a first-class nuclear arsenal and robust missile defense rather than leave the innocents of both sides hostage to the threat of nuclear holocaust. Reagan believed that if you devalued nuclear weapons, fewer nations would want them. President Obama explicitly rejects this approach. His strategy repudiates Reagan’s vision for how to achieve a nuclear-free world.

#7. We Could All Die. Again and again, President Obama has cast New START as the first step on the “road to zero.” But by intentionally diminishing America’s stature as a nuclear power, the treaty effectively “lowers the bar” for other nations that might seek to become established nuclear powers. The perverse outcome of Obama’s “road to zero,” then, will be to encourage proliferation of nuclear weapons among more nations, not less. Pursuing nuclear disarmament in a proliferated world without employing missile defense and maintaining credible nuclear deterrence increases instability, which can lead to nuclear war. Moreover, it is likely that New START will fail to protect the U.S. and its allies from attack, to provide verification of existing programs, and to prevent nuclear proliferation.

#6. Compromising on Missile Defense Is Bad. The Russians have publicly stated that the treaty limits future U.S. missile defense options. The president denies that. But when two parties to a treaty disagree as to what it means … that’s not good. Beyond the Russian pronouncements, there is good reason to believe the treaty restricts our missile defense capabilities. After the treaty signing, the White House issued a “fact sheet” declaring that it imposed no limits on missile defense. It then withdrew the fact sheet and issued a new one — one that now omitted that “fact.” President Obama may not be troubled by additional barriers to building a comprehensive missile defense. After all, he has already cut the missile interceptor force for protecting the U.S. by 44 percent. However, future presidents who are serious about missile defense would be hamstrung by this treaty, which would be in effect for 10 years.

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  • callenlaw

    Maybe I’m distracted by the Mr. Mackey-esque headings (“Compromising on Missile Defense is bad, m’kay”), but I count one, maybe two real arguments about START here (obliging the US to share missile telemetry data and the weakness of the verification regime — which could use more detail).

    The rest are either pure place holders (“Reagan wouldn’t like it” is not an argument, it’s a restatement of the verification regime point invoking Ronnie as if he were Jesus) or non-sequiturs like the implication that Russia will not update its aresenal but for START (patently untrue). Most eggregious is the assertion that a treaty with Russia should be rejected because it fails to address China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorists too — by that logic, our Constitution should have never been implemented because of the number of issues it leaves to another day.

    There are issues with START, as two out of ten points demonstrate. It’s unfortunate that such legitimate points are subsumed amid such clumsily constructed pile-ons.

  • EWRoss

    Excellent points all. The US Senate should not ratify this treaty.

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  • H. Nelson

    I think the recent procurement of centrifuges by NK posses the largest proliferation risk in the world right now. With everyone focused on Russia, the START treaty, and how to secure ‘loose’ nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, we may allow uranium to slip out of NK and into hostile regional state actors (or worse, terrorists). Yet we cannot ignore the threat of direct nuclear attack by NK either.

    When countries do not hold their population as valuable, and the leadership has proven that they have an erratic decision calculus, our form of deterrence fails. Since our national nuclear defense strategy depends on nuclear retaliation against anyone who initiates a nuclear attack, and we can’t guarantee North Korea won’t become a first strike nation, we cannot allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons. If we did, the US may find itself in a situation where it is forced to use nuclear weapons against an inferior country or absorb a nuclear attack without retaliating. Both outcomes would significantly impact our national security objectives. We must declare to the international community that a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable, and commence diplomatic actions immediately FOLLOWING a low impact strike to destroy the centrifuges.

    http://onparadox.blogspot.com/

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  • flips

    Teally. You Tea Baggers want to bring back the Cold War?

    You really live that far in the past?

    Disgusting.

    • Offensive Bias

      yep, it’s all our fought and not the Russians are any other would be aggressor who wouldn’t hesitate to overpower us after we disarmed.

      Your a “Useful Idiot” to the left.

    • johnk144

      Shut up, you ignorant slug. If you wanted an education, you would ask, and I would give it to you. But you are happy in your ignorance. We just don’t want to hear it.

    • Offensive Bias

      Flips which part of the “Fifth Column” are you assigned to help destroy our country from within?

    • scorpioman

      Yes flips it’s more than disgusting.

      No wonder conservatives admire Palin and other candidates they conjure up… Doesn’t that offensive bias sentence structure sound familiar?

      And when you make an educated statement all they can do is call you an ignorant slug while claiming they’ve been educated. LOL Yeah, by FOX!

      As far as learning any truth, Johnk said it best. They just don’t want to hear it.

      • recovered dem

        STFU you liberal slime!

      • Offensive Bias

        Scorpio, what is so educational about disarming the US in an age of smaller rogue nations like N. Korea acquires nukes? Then we have China, Pakistan, Iran.

        I think this is the educational issue at hand and what do you bring up? Conservatives for Palin, sentence structures…Blah, Blah.

        Do you take out national security serious? Are you just trying to get back conservatives anyway you can?