This weekend a CNN poll showed nearly three out of four Americans say lawmakers should ratify a nuclear treaty with Russia. Yet some Republicans in the Senate have an agenda that values political gamesmanship above America’s security. Their claims of savaging taxpayer money ring hollow since they have not limited the amount of money they will use on the largely useless and unneeded “modernization” of nuclear weapons.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16th, the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 73 percent of the public says the U.S. should vote in favor of the treaty between President Barack Obama and Russia that would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in each country, with 23 percent saying the accord should not be ratified by the Senate. Even a majority of Republicans support the treaty!
Despite their words about fiscal responsibility, Republicans are willing to spend excessive money on an unneeded program that already has $85 billion committed over the next ten years. Far above what is needed according to most experts.
Besides the wisdom of Senator Lugar, Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and foremost expert in the Senate on disarmament, why do the so-called moderate conservatives not show the same wisdom? Senators Snow and Collins from Maine have been curiously silent on the New START treaty in spite of their assertions of centrism. The treaty has be subject to many months of scrutiny, hearings and is supported by just about every national security expert in the nation…..except discredited far right types who now put themselves in the same bag as climate change and evolution deniers.
In informal discussion with Brits here in England they find our politics scary and opposition to arms control to be another element of an uninformed American political process and wonder where we are going. A vote against the New START will only contribute to their view that American leadership will be even less in effective amidst Republican dominance.