Among the dangers lurking in Congress's fall session and Lame Duck Session will be a Senate rush to ratify the treaty called New START, which he signed with the Russians in Prague last April. This treaty is not only a bad idea; it's downright dangerous to U.S. national security. For the first time in the long record of U.S.-Russian treaties, this New START treaty links offensive and defensive weapons. Advocates of ratification say that doesn't matter because the link is only in the Preamble and that doesn't bind us. But that interpretation hasn't been cleared with the Russians, who assert that the Preamble does put a binding limit on U.S. missile defenses.
The Russians are salivating at the thought that the New START treaty proclaims their victory in their long-running battle to kill U.S. anti-missile defenses. For decades, Russia's primary goal has been to stop the United States from building any anti-missile capability. Ronald Reagan's refusal to give up his Strategic Defense Initiative was the principal reason he won the Cold War (without firing a shot, as Margaret Thatcher said). But now Barack Obama seems casually willing to abandon our right to build defensive weapons.
The U.S. Constitution gives the Senate "advice and consent" power over treaties. But the Obama administration refuses to let Senators review the treaty's negotiating documents. Whatever happened to transparency? It was customary for Senators to be given the negotiating records before they voted on previous treaties with the Russians, and the Senators certainly should be able to see the records involved in negotiations for the New START treaty. There are few things as important as protecting our right to build missiles that are completely defensive and designed to protect American lives.
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