Report: Russia Sent Hugo Chavez Hundreds of Missiles Last Year

Posted: Dec 13, 2010 9:40 AM
Why, again, are we in such a rush to ratify an America-weakening treaty with Moscow?  Since 2008, they've sold arms to Iran (some of which may well have been smuggled into Iraq to kill Americans), invaded a neighboring democracy, provocatively relocated tactical nukes closer to NATO targets (in violation of their own existing international pledges), and now this:

Russia delivered at least 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009, U.N. arms control data show, despite vigorous U.S. efforts to stop President Hugo Chavez's stridently anti-American government from acquiring the weapons.

The United States feared that the missiles could be funneled to Marxist guerrillas fighting Colombia's pro-American government or Mexican drug cartels, concerns expressed in U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and first reported in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

It had been unclear how many of the Russian SA-24 missiles were delivered to Venezuela, though the transfer itself was not secret. Chavez showed off a few dozen at a military parade in April 2009, saying they could "deter whatever aerial aggression against our country."

It's painfully clear that the Kremlin does not have America's best interests at heart.  Indeed, they're actively arming our enemies.  Heritage national security expert Dr. James Carafano, in outlining the case against new START, warns that the deal's verification regime is questionable, and points out that Russia has cheated on previous arms agreements.  As other critics have mentioned, there also exists a fundamental disagreement over what the treaty actually says between the two relevant parties.  Moscow has stated that language in the treaty proscribes future advancements of American missile defense systems and technology.  The Obama administration insists that isn't the case.  This dispute is in itself an overriding reason to extirpate the entire process.

New START can, at the very least, wait until the new Senate convenes in January and gets a good look at the text of the accord, as well as the crucial negotiating records.  A destructive treaty like this ought not be jammed through by a lame duck Congress that has lost the confidence of the American people. Some Republicans need to be reminded of this point.  Senate switchboard:  (202) 224-3121