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

# 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.