Like so much of the Obama administration's handiwork, none of these propositions stands up to close scrutiny. As an innovative new video by the Center for Security Policy makes clear, our enemies are emboldened by what they perceive as U.S. weakness, not induced to emulate it. Our leadership is far more likely to be taken seriously if we are seen as providing a credible deterrent than if we are cutting it so deeply as, for instance, to invite China to become a peer superpower. And the Kremlin's denizens cannot be both reliable partners for peace and disposed, as ever, to cheat on treaties and pursue their interests without regard to ours.
The administration's hope for pulling off this bait-and-switch seems likely to come down to one hackneyed gambit: The say-so of an array of prominent endorsers whose past titles, celebrity, self-importance, etc. is intended to dissuade senators from doing their own due diligence. Former Presidents Bush 41 and 43 are currently being importuned to join assorted past and present cabinet and senior military officers in playing this unseemly role.
The gambit only works, however, if legislators are willing to vote on the basis of such political cover - rather than, say, doing their homework. Opting for the former would require them to ignore the strong recommendation of their colleague, Sen. Kit Bond, who has done his job as Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and concluded that the treaty is unverifiable.
Will they also disregard Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl? He is rightly worried that the Obama administration's fixation with denuclearizing the United States will render hollow the commitments Team Obama is currently dangling with respect to funding certain modernization measures that are utterly at odds with that agenda, all in the hope of securing Sen. Kyl's highly influential vote.
If the handful of swing senators who will decide whether the Senate will indeed rubber-stamp New START are going to take counsel from anyone, they would be well-advised to heed not only these two distinguished colleagues in the 111th Congress, but also the views of past colleagues and future ones: A bipartisan group of fifteen former senators recently wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid stating that it would be unprecedented and ill-advised to consider an arms control treaty during a necessarily truncated lame-duck session. And, eleven newly elected senators led by Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri added in their own joint letter that taking up this treaty during the lame-duck would mean that "yesterday's Senate" would decide its adequacy - not tomorrow's, on whose watch it would largely be implemented.
There will be plenty of time next year for the U.S. Senate to review, debate and make necessary improvements to the New START Treaty. And that is precisely what Barack Obama wants to preclude with his all-too-familiar pig-in-a-poke stratagem. The Senate must not fall for it again.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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