The new arms control treaty with Russia, now being considered by the Senate, follows in the storied tradition of Ronald Reagan, or so say people who worked for him. Except that Mr. Reagan would never have supported it, at least according to other people who served him.
The debate over the New Start treaty, as it is known, has become a proxy fight over the legacy of the nation’s 40th president. Dueling op-ed columns in two leading newspapers on Thursday morning reflected the battle over who speaks for the cold warrior who ultimately made peace with a collapsing Soviet Union.
On the one side are Republicans like George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III and Colin L. Powell, all of whom served Mr. Reagan. They signed an essay in The Washington Post arguing that their former boss and other Republican presidents “recognized that reducing the number of nuclear arms in an open, verifiable manner would reduce the risk of nuclear catastrophe and increase the stability of America’s relationship with the Soviet Union and, later, the Russian Federation.” (Two other Republican former secretaries of state, Henry A. Kissinger and Lawrence S. Eagleburger, signed it as well.)