“I can understand the Democrats being afraid of the new Republicans; I can’t understand Republicans being afraid of the new Republicans,” Graham lamented on WTMA radio. “They’re not opportunities to take everything you couldn’t do for two years and jam it. It’s literally what they’re doing, across the board. And after a while, I stop blaming them, and I blame us.”
Graham blamed outgoing Republican senators in particular. “They have used the power of the Senate against the minority, and we have, quite frankly, a handful of us have been letting them do it. And a lot of the people who are doing this got beat. And that’s what makes me so upset,” he said. “It makes me disappointed that, with a new group of Republicans coming in, we could get a better deal on almost everything.”
USNI – Posted by SteelJaw
… Overall, it is a modest effort at reduction — nothing on the order of the original START reductions. It does re-establish an atmosphere of verification and compliance, though not as intrusive as the previous Treaty and includes use of “national technical means,” on-site visits and exchanges of telemetry data.
In the final months of negotiation there was a lot said on the Russian side about missile defense and linkages to the new Treaty – much more than reported in the Western press, by the way. Of relevance to this part of the discussion is Article III 7(a) which states:
“A missile of a type developed and tested solely to intercept and counter objects not located on the surface of the Earth shall not be considered to be a ballistic missile to which the provisions of this Treaty apply.”
In other words, ABM and ASAT missiles that have been exclusively developed and tested for those purposes (e.g., SM-3 family) are exempt from the Treaty.
Note also that there is a withdrawal clause for “extraordinary circumstances” (Article XIV Section 3) which is a common clause for treaties of this nature and is not extraordinary for this treaty. In light of the Russian’s unilateral statement on missile defense, it may be highlighted in subsequent discussions. The text of the declaration follow:
Statement by the Russian Federation on Missile Defence April 8, 2010
“The Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms signed in Prague on April 8, 2010, can operate and be viable only if the United States of America refrains from developing its missile defence capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.
Consequently, the exceptional circumstances referred to in Article 14 of the Treaty include increasing the capabilities of the United States of America’s missile defence system in such a way that threatens the potential of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation.”
Worth keeping an eye on as we move down the pike on the European PAA is the “qualitatively” part of the first sentence. Earlier (March 18) statements by Foreign Minister Lavrov singled out improved capabilities of the EPAA “by 2020″ which coincides with introduction of the SM-3 BlkIIB.
Finally, at the signing ceremony, the President stated:
“President Medvedev and I have also agreed to expand our discussions on missile defense. This will include regular exchanges of information about our threat assessments, as well as the completion of a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles. And as these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense.”
How much this was intended to allay or soften the Russian unilateral statement and the substance of those future talks 9as well as the direction they will take the European PAA and other bi- and multi-lateral missile defense initiatives in various theaters and regions, remains to be seen.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin weighs in the START vote at National Review Online’s The Corner. An excerpt:
“The proposed New START agreement should be evaluated by the only criteria that matters for a treaty: Is it in America’s interest? I am convinced this treaty is not. It should not be rammed through in the lame duck session using behind the scenes deal-making reminiscent of the tactics used in the health care debate.
“New START actually requires the U.S. to reduce our nuclear weapons and allows the Russians to increase theirs. This is one-sided and makes no strategic sense. New START’s verification regime is weaker than the treaty it replaces, making it harder for us to detect Russian cheating. Since we now know Russia has not complied with many arms control agreements currently in force, this is a serious matter.
“New START recognizes a link between offensive and defensive weapons – a position the Russians have sought for years. Russia claims the treaty constrains U.S. missile defenses and that they will withdraw from the treaty if we pursue missile defenses. This linkage virtually guarantees that either we limit our missile defenses or the Russians will withdraw from the treaty. The Obama administration claims that this is not the case; but if that is true, why agree to linking offensive and defensive weapons in the treaty?
At the height of the Cold War, President Reagan pursued missile defense while also pursuing verifiable arms control with the then-Soviet Union. That position was right in the 1980’s, and it is still right today. We cannot and must not give up the right to missile defense to protect our population – whether the missiles that threaten us come from Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, or anywhere else. I fought the Obama administration’s plans to cut funds for missile defense in Alaska while I was Governor, and I will continue to speak out for missile defenses that will protect our people and our allies.”
NRO – By Andrew Stiles & Robert Costa
New START moved one step closer to ratification Tuesday, as the Senate voted 67–28 to end debate. A vote on final passage is expected Wednesday.
Eleven Republicans voted for cloture — Sens. Dick Lugar (Ind.), Bob Bennett (Utah), Scott Brown (Mass.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), and George Voinovich (Ohio).
Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out at a press conference following the vote that three additional senators — Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), Evan Bayh (D., Ind.), and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) — were absent on Tuesday but will be present for ratification, meaning at least 70 members are likely to back the measure.
“In today’s Senate, 70 votes is yesterday’s 95,” Kerry joked. A beaming Lugar, the ranking member of the committee, joined the Bay State Democrat, and hailed Tuesday’s vote as a bipartisan success. Lugar expects even more Republicans to support final passage.
The vote came despite opposition from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other leading Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) remarked on Fox News radio earlier in the day that the increasingly inevitable ratification of New START in the lame-duck session amounted to a “capitulation . . . of dramatic proportions.”
“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” Graham said.
Kerry and Lugar dismissed the notion that McConnell’s opposition had been a political failure or strategically misguided. “Mitch McConnell is respected by [Democrats] as a very smart and capable leader [who has] held his caucus together on a number of difficult votes over the course of the year,” Kerry said. “I think he was just announcing his opposition to the treaty. So I wouldn’t read anything larger into it.”
Lugar was asked if McConnell had whipped the START vote. “Not to my knowledge,” he responded. “The vote today stands as it is.”
Sen. Bob Bennett, the retiring Utah Republican and a close friend of McConnell, told NRO that Republican leaders took a mostly hands-off approach to whipping START. “On a vote of this consequence, the leadership is very respectful of every senator’s individual position,” he said.
Other leading Republicans attempted to downplay the political aspects of the negotiations. Isakson, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told NRO that many of his colleagues worked to avoid making the START vote a political football.
“Before I was up for reelection in November, I faced the vote in committee [to approve New START],” Isakson recalled. “From a political standpoint, it would have been easy to just say no. But [supporting START] was the right thing to do. And I got almost 60 percent of the vote after having voted for it in the committee. The worst decision would have been to go back on what we’ve already done.”
Indeed, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NRO last week that the START vote will not be a “litmus test” for candidates in coming years. But high-profile conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) and Sarah Palin are opposed. What does Isakson think of those voices? “I’m not taking that bait,” he chuckled.
Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told NRO that many on-the-fence GOP senators “just naturally came to a conclusion.”
“To me, as Brent Scowcroft told me, [New START] is a modest and useful step in the right direction,” Collins said. “It’s refreshing to see serious, bipartisan consideration of a very important issue. Dick Lugar gets a lot of credit for that, as does Jon Kyl on the other side.”
The clock was another factor. Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) notes that many senators are itching to catch a flight home for the holidays. The move toward START, he said in an NRO interview, “has more than a bit to do with jet fumes.”
“[Senators] want to go home,” Burr said. “When you got a process that has a definitive end, you use slippage backward. That’s why all of these things were orchestrated to come up at this time of year.” Burr would have preferred to see the debate continue next session, since “there is no compelling reason that this needs to be done right now.”
Regardless, it will be done.
Russia’s state arms procurement program through 2020 provides for the development of a new heavy ballistic missile, a leading missile designer said on Monday.
The final decision should be made in 2012-13 by the expert community, not solely the Defense Ministry, said Yury Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), the developer of the troubled Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile.
“This matter is beyond the Defense Ministry’s competence. It is a matter of state importance,” he said.
“Heavy ICBM” refers to a class of missiles with a heavy throw weight between five and nine metric tons and a length of over 35 meters, capable of delivering a large number of warheads in a single MIRV missile.
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces are still armed with Soviet-era SS-18 Satan and SS-20 Saber ICBMs with an extended service life and are expected to remain in service until 2026.
The SS-18 Satan is deployed with up to 10 warheads with a yield of 550 to 750 kilotons each and an operational range of up to 11,000 km (6,800 miles).
Newsmax – By Dan Weil and Ashley Martella
Instead of pressuring reluctant Republican senators for rapid ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the Obama administration should just drop it, says Richard Perle, a key architect of President Ronald Reagan’s strategy to end the Cold War.
“It’s a seriously flawed treaty,” Perle, now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV. “It’s certainly not the kind of treaty Ronald Reagan fought for and accomplished.”
The pact is very weak on verification, he says. “For example, our right to inspections is limited to sites the Russians declare . . . which makes a mockery of the whole idea of on-site inspections,” Perle explains. “Imagine when Iran asserts a similar right to limit inspections, or the North Koreans or others. For that reason alone, it’s a very doubtful agreement.”
Plenty of time is needed to examine the treaty. “That won’t be done if they vote immediately,” he notes. “The Senate has never seen the full negotiating record on the treaty.”
That’s because the Obama administration doesn’t want a serious examination of the dispute between the United States and Russia over ballistic missile defense, Perle says.
“Russia claims that, if we build future ballistic missile defenses that impinge on what they believe to be their national security, then all bets are off, and the treaty no longer applies,” he says. “That would inhibit our ballistic missile defense program, even though it’s not aimed at Russia — it’s aimed at Iran, North Korea, and others.”
The Obama administration essentially has handed Russia a veto over our missile defense program, Perle says. “At any point they can say we don’t like what you’re doing, you’re putting us in a position where we’ll walk away from this treaty. I think this president would back down under those circumstances.”
A close examination of all this is vital, but the White House refuses to turn over the negotiating records, says Perle, who was President Ronald Reagan’s assistant defense secretary.
“This treaty doesn’t need to be signed now, and I don’t believe it needs to be signed at all. There is no reason after the Cold War why we can’t build what we think is necessary and let the Russians build what they want. We don’t need a treaty to regulate relations between us.”…]
The Heritage Foundation
The current regime in Russia has a terrible record as a reliable partner, yet President Obama wants the nuclear treaty he negotiated with the Kremlin fast-tracked for Senate approval. That makes no sense. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. A Long History of Arms Control Violations: Russia repeatedly violated the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) all the way to its expiration in December 2009, as clearly stated in 2005 and 2010 State Department compliance reports. Specifically, Russia tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile with Multiple Individually Targeted Re-entry Vehicles (warheads) while START was in force. Such activities, however, were explicitly banned.
2. The West Is Still Their #1 Threat: Russia regards the U.S. and NATO as its principal adversaries and configures its forces for large-scale conventional theater operations with them. The recent discovery of the Russian spy network inside the U.S. and their celebration upon return to Russia, courtesy of President Obama, indicates that Russia is set in a Cold War mentality.
3. Helping Iran and North Korea: According to U.S. intelligence, Russia violated nonproliferation agreements by providing ballistic missile technology to Iran and North Korea, which have continually threatened America and its allies.
4. Still Building a Nuclear Arsenal: Nearly 20 years after the end of the Cold War, Russia still designs, builds, and modernizes nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Russia’s new military doctrine maintains a low threshold for nuclear first strikes. In fact, Moscow plans to use tactical nuclear weapons in Europe if ever confronted with a conventional threat. In 2009, Russia conducted a military exercise that simulated a nuclear attack on Poland.
5. Not in Compliance on Other Treaties: The U.S. believes Russia to be in non-compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention. In 2009, the Strategic Posture Commission told Congress: “Russia is no longer in compliance with its PNI [Presidential Nuclear Initiatives] commitments.” Moscow’s tactical nuclear weapons arsenal may be 10 times larger than that of the U.S.
6. No Regard for Georgia Independence: Russia has repeatedly broken its promises to withdraw military forces from Georgia and Moldova. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, it rewrote the rules of post–World War II European security. It repudiated the Helsinki Pact of 1975, which recognized the security of European borders, and violated the sovereignty of a NATO aspirant and member of the Council of Europe.
7. Responds Offensively to Defensive Measures: In response to U.S. plans for a defensive missile shield in Europe to protect against Iranian missile threats, Moscow has repeatedly threatened to deploy Iskander short-range and nuclear-capable missiles to target U.S. allies in Eastern Europe. Reports show that the Baltic Fleet is armed with nuclear weapons that can be used against Europe.
8. Ties to Terrorist Organizations: Russia cultivates ties with terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah and provides military and diplomatic support for anti-American “rogue states” such as Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. Russia voted with the U.S. at the U.N. Security Council to pass sanctions on Iran—but only after working hard to water them down to practically nothing.
9. Natural Gas as a Political Weapon: The Kremlin uses its neighbors and Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas as a foreign policy tool to pressure states. In 2009, Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and to Europe by extension, causing the International Energy Agency to deem them an unreliable supplier.
10. An Authoritarian Regime: The current model of leadership under President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has become increasingly authoritarian. Despite numerous commitments under international law, the government has tightened controls on political life, civil society, and the media. Disruption of political opposition’s activities, restricting access to state-controlled TV, human right violations (such as the beating of demonstrators who “support” the Russian constitution), murder of journalists and anti-corruption activists, disappearance and torture, abuse of the legal system for monetary and political gain—all illustrate this negative trend.
© 2010, The Heritage Foundation
Related (Global Security): Russia Fields More Topol-M ICBMs
“Verification is better than no verification at all; that inspections and transparency are what prohibit things like what happened on 9/11 from ever happening again…
— U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
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