Monday, January 3, 2011

The START Debacle - Stupidity, Cupidity & Duplicity

Could there be a more jaw dropping display of the stupidity of our Congresscritters or the cupidity and, possibly, duplicity of Obama then what we see occurring with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Obama demanded this treaty be passed during the lame duck session of Congress ostensibly because it was urgently needed to keep tabs on Russian nuclear arms. He only succeeded in getting this through Congress by explicitly stating, in an 18 Dec. letter to Congress:

The New START treaty places no limitations on the development or deployment of our missile defense programs.

The Senate then ratified the treated. Now, two weeks later, Russia is telling us that they consider our missile defense limited by the Treaty:

The preamble sets a link between strategic offensive arms and defensive arms. . . .

The Russian lawmakers insist that all the chapters of the treaty including the preamble are legally binding, which is a common norm of international law.


Here is the background. The START Treaty is solely concerned with offensive nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Nonetheless, in the treaty negotiated by Obama, the preamble mentions Missile Defense - something of critical strategic importance to the U.S. and an object of significant opposition from Russia. The U.S. withdrew from an ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001 so that we could fully develop a missile defense shield. With ever growing threats from nuclear proliferation, it would be an act of strategic insanity for the U.S. to now agree to forgo its work on the missile defense shield. And indeed, it is absolutely clear that even the Democrat dominated 111th Congress would never agree to such an act - which is why Obama had to stipulate that the treaty would not in any way hinder our missle defense programs. In respect of all of that, there was no possible justification to include mention of missile defense in the START Treaty.

Nonetheless, Obama's negotiating team agreed to include the following in the preamble of the START Treaty:

Recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties . . .

It had to be utterly obvious to anyone with a brain cell that the only reason to include mention of the "interrelationship" of "strategic defensive arms" in the START Treaty was because Russia was bound and determined that it be an operative part of the treaty. It would seem that there are only two possibile explanations as to why Obama would have agreed to allow that provision into the START Treaty:

1. Obama had his negotiators agree under the table to limit further development of our missile defense. Couple that with lying to Congress and the American people and what you have is an act that makes Nixon's actions in Watergate seem like a case of jaywalking; or

2. Obama is really so grossly incompetent and so out of his depth that he actually could not see that Russia was demanding this language in the treaty because they wanted to limit our missile defense.

Inquiring minds want to know which it is.

It is important to note that Obama refused to release to Congress the START negotiating documents that would have clarified this central issue. There was no reason not to release those documents. It is time to ready the subpoenas.

However this falls out, this is just an incredible debacle for all parties concerned. The stupidity of Congress for passing the START Treaty despite the language in the preamble was a jaw droppingly stupid act, irrespective of the assurance of Obama.

The cupidity of Obama to pass this treaty at all costs and irrespective of its fatal flaws seems near akin to the destructive obsession exhibited by Captain Ahab. In the end, Obama has gained nothing towards the goal of legitimizing his quest for a nuclear free world (a dangerous fantasy in and of itself) and, at the very least, sets in stone the perception that he is grossly incompetent in foreign affairs.

Lastly, the duplicity here, if it exists, which at least seems plausible at the moment, could fatally endanger Obama's administration. If his negotiators agreed to under the table deals to limit our ballistic missile defense and Obama then knowingly lied about that to Congress and the American people, then this is serious indeed.

Welcome Larwyn's Linx readers.


Ex-Dissident said...

GW, I've come to the conclusion that anything Obama tries to do is bad for this country. The only good that has ever come from his administration has only been something unintended-the TEA party uprising is a perfect example. About this treaty: I deal within the world of medicine and when you obtain an uninformed consent, it is not considered legally binding. It would seem that despite their stupidity, our Congress could protest the fact that they were not able to see the actual treaty and therefore were not informed of its faults prior to passage. Maybe they will then be capable of negating such a treaty.

GW said...

That is a very good question regarding the negation of the Treaty, Vinny, and I don't know the answer.