President Obama believes he has developed a closer relationship with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev than was enjoyed by his predecessor, George W. Bush. I am doubtful about that, but even if it is so, of what consequence is it? Although the Russian constitution makes the president of the republic the number one figure at the apex of Russia’s governing elite, the reality is that the Russian constitution is what Vladimir Putin says it is. Putin is only No. 2 on paper. He is the premier. But the reality is that Putin dominates Russia today. Just as he dominated Russia when he served—briefly—under the drunken President Boris Yeltsin as his Premier.
So it should give us some concern when President Obama goes out of his way to tout a new strategic arms reduction treaty (START) signed with the every compliant Medvedev. In fact, the pact as initialed recently in Prague is called the Obama-Medvedev treaty.
U.S. Senators should stop START. As a treaty, it requires a vote of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. Republicans and defense-minded Democrats—are there any left?—must hold up ratification until many, many questions are answered.
John Bolton calls the START agreement “a treaty for Utopia” in carefully detailed analysis in National Review. Our former ambassador to the UN lays out many specific and pressing concerns and raises questions that deserve to be answered before any senator gives this document his okay.
I would like to address the overall atmospherics of the treaty. Ronald Reagan made sure we did not sign any arms agreements with the Soviets until he had re-built our hollowed-out military—a military demoralized and de-mobilized under the studied neglect of the Carter administration. Jimmy Carter publicly said we had to “get over our inordinate fear of Communism.” The Kremlin bosses took him at his word and ran rampant through Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and Central America.
“Let us never negotiate out of fear,” President Kennedy had said, “but let us never fear to negotiate.” Reagan never feared to negotiate—provided America’s military was second to none.
This treaty will disarm the U.S. without making similar demands on Russia. Russia will retain its current substantial advantage over this country in the numbers of tactical nuclear weapons. If both sides reduced their strategic nuclear stockpiles, then tactical nukes become all the more important.