The alternative title to this post - Obama's WTF Foreign Policy
Obama promised to reset our foreign relations in the run up to the 2008 election. He is making good on his promise with a vengeance. He is certainly resetting our relations with our closest and most stalwart ally - one who has stood with us shoulder to shoulder in Iraq and Afghanistan - Britain.
From the latest Wikileaks dump, we learn that, as part of the START negotiations, the Russians pressed the Obama administration for information on Britain's nuclear arsenal. The Obama administration asked the Brits if they could release the information. The Brits refused. Obama promptly betrayed the Brits, secretly releasing the information to the Russians anyway.
This from the Telegraph:
A series of classified messages sent to Washington by US negotiators show how information on Britain’s nuclear capability was crucial to securing Russia’s support for the “New START” deal.
Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
Professor Malcolm Chalmers said: “This appears to be significant because while the UK has announced how many missiles it possesses, there has been no way for the Russians to verify this. Over time, the unique identifiers will provide them with another data point to gauge the size of the British arsenal.” . . .
Note that this betrayal of our closest ally comes on top of Obama's duplicity in forcing through the START Treaty even though it contained a provision in the preamble tying our missile defense program to our strategic offensive nuclear weapons. As I wrote at the time:
. . . 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 possible 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. . . .
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.
Obama's betrayal of our closest ally in his pursuit of START, on top of all the above, is the first true government scandal we have had since the Iran-Contra affair - though this one is potentially of far more import and far more damaging. Obama has committed an utterly unconscionable betrayal of the trust of our ally, Britain, in addition to damaging our own interests while misleading Congress and the American people. This needs to be investigated by Congress - today - and Obama needs to personally issue a public apology to the Queen. One can only imagine the damage this latest revelation will do to the cooperation we receive from all of our allies in the future.
Update: Nice Deb has a great post up on this topic, raising two critical issues. The first is whether this act by the Obama administration violates Article III of our NATO Treaty? Arguably yes, and if that is so, it is very serious indeed. Second is whether, as the administration is now indicating, this is just a carryover of the notification provisions of START 1. But Britain was not a signatory to START 1 and their nuclear weapons, regardless of where they are being held, are not subject to "limits" of START. At any rate, do see her post on this issue.