The 111th Congress has been discredited by its arrogant disregard for the public and repudiated at the polls. President Obama and his allies in the Senate are, nonetheless, trying to use the lame duck session to get a "Zombie Senate" to foist on the American people right before Christmas a dangerous "New START" nuclear arms treaty with Russia. There are compelling reasons why the handful of Republican Senators who will decide whether this treaty is approved in its present form - under artificially constrained circumstances that allow minimal opportunity for informed debate - should just say "No."
Some of the most compelling include:
The treaty would leave the Russians with thousands more nuclear weapons than the United States when their ten-to-one advantage in "tactical" arms is factored in. Moreover, the Kremlin's tactical weapons are mostly modern. Ours are, on average, over thirty-years old; some actually rely on vacuum tubes. Theirs are deployed forward near our allies and, in some cases, are being moved still closer in order to intimidate America's friends. Meanwhile, our tactical bombs, artillery shells, etc. are no longer deployed aboard Navy ships and many of them are kept in the United States, and therefore are of limited, if any, deterrent value.
What is more, Russian doctrine holds that such weapons are useable and probably decisive in warfighting. Moscow's large arsenal of tactical nukes will be even more of a threat if sharp cuts are made in the "nuclear umbrella" historically provided to our friends by our strategic deterrent. Does anyone think this will make the world safer and strengthen America security?
New START shrinks the U.S. deterrent at a time when the threat from dangerous countries is growing, unconstrained by the treaty. China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Myanmar and Venezuela are among those increasingly hostile nations who have obtained nuclear weapons or are working to get them. This list may shortly include others who have, until now, been American allies but may feel, under the circumstances, obliged "go nuclear," as well. If we are seen as less able (or willing) to protect them with our deterrent, the world is likely to have a lot more nuclear weapons, not fewer of them (let alone be rid of them, as Mr. Obama hopes) and surely be a lot more dangerous for the United States.
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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