The U.S. has global commitments. Russia has none (although they perilously are playing games with Cuba, Venezuela, and even Iran).
Do we want Japan, Germany, or even Australia to feel compelled to go nuclear? This could be the unintended result if the U.S. disarms too quickly. START disarms the U.S. too quickly.
Why should Obama choose this moment to ink a new arms reduction agreement with the Russians? He seems to have forgotten the classic formulation: There is not mistrust in the world because there are arms; there are arms in the world because there is mistrust.
Liberals have always believed that it is the weapons themselves which constitute the greatest danger to world peace. If that were true, then we should have shuddered at the approach of the HMS Trafalgar, a nuclear submarine capable of launching nuclear-tipped Tomahawk missiles against the U.S. We didn’t tremble. That’s because Trafalgar was a British submarine, our tried and true allies.
Put very simply, the Russians have done nothing recently to merit our trust. Signing an arms reduction agreement with them now makes no sense. They may not want war, but they want the fruits of war. We should remember what Churchill said in 1946.
I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power…Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement…From what I have seen of our Russian friends and Allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness.
Unless and until the U.S. is securely in the lead—with a due regard to our alliances and obligations—we should not be ratifying any arms reduction agreements with the Russians. Now is not the time to START. It’s the time to STOP.
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