Even for a man known for his arrogance, Barack Obama's treatment of the Senate in connection with the New START Treaty is astounding. His demand that Senators approve this defective accord during the few days remaining in the lame-duck session amounts to contempt of Congress. It must not be tolerated, let alone rewarded.
To be sure, Mr. Obama is not the first chief executive to hold the legislative branch in low esteem. Still, his highhandedness when it comes to the constitutional responsibility of the Senate to play a real role in treaty-making seems particularly contemptuous, and contemptible.
The Obama administration's insistence that Senators accede to his efforts to relegate them to rubber-stamps is without precedent. As a bipartisan group of fifteen former senatorsrecently observed, never before in the history of the U.S. Senate has the deliberation and vote on an arms control agreement been truncated by their being conducted during a lame-duck session.
The effort to ram the treaty through before Christmas is no more justified than it is precedented. The claim being made by the administration and its surrogates that uncertainty about Russian activities necessitates such haste is laughable. President Obama himself is responsible for allowing previous verification arrangements to lapse. He did so over a year ago and seemed untroubled until now about there being no monitoring systems in place. And the insights this accord's limited inspection and monitoring arrangements will afford are hardly up to the job of detecting the Kremlin's inveterate cheating and other strategically ominous developments.
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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