5 years ago
From the Los Angeles Times:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Saturday rejected claims by Senate Republicans that the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia would hamper U.S. missile defense programs and nuclear weapons modernization, warning of “significant consequences” if the Senate doesn’t ratify the accord.
He said that Russia could also respond to a failure to approve the treaty by scaling back its assistance for the war in Afghanistan. Russia has allowed the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization to ship supplies through its territory to Afghanistan, including a recent decision to permit transport of so-called mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, the heavily armored troop carriers used to guard against hidden bombs.
“Despite what anybody says, I, as secretary of Defense, and the entire uniformed leadership of the American military believe that this treaty is in our national security interest,” Gates said, taking on claims by critics of the treaty that some in the military privately oppose the accord.
His comments to reporters after meeting with officials in Chile were part of a lobbying blitz by senior Obama administration officials to persuade the Senate to ratify the treaty, which restricts each nation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed long-distance warheads, before the end of the year.
In addition to Gates’ comments, President Obama devoted his weekend radio address to the treaty.
“Without ratification this year, the United States will have no inspectors on the ground, and no ability to verify Russian nuclear activities,” Obama said in the address.
“Without ratification, we put at risk the coalition that we have built to put pressure on Iran, and the transit route through Russia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan,” the president continued.
So the stated reasons for support of New START are (1) pressure on Iran, and (2) logistics through Russia. As for Iran, it’s truly sad that this administration is still mired in the ideological framework that assumes, despite all assurances to the contrary by the radical Mullahs, that we can negotiate or pressure Iran into relinquishing their pursuit of nuclear weapons. I guess at some point in my life (I don’t know, perhaps 2 or 3 years of age) I believed in fairy tales too, but I wasn’t leading the most powerful nation on earth at the time.
As for logistics, I’m wondering why no one has warned this administration that their choice to partner with Russia for logistics would end up dictating our foreign policy? I’m also wondering why no alternative to the Khyber pass has been presented to this administration?
Gates and the administration look incredibly weak, with their tail in between their legs. It’s a sad testimony to the lack of strategic, long range planning and foresight within this administration.