Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mittens! Takes Republican Heat for "Hyperbolic" START Op-Ed

Poor Mittens.  What happened to the good ol' days when saying something uninformed was tantamount to a Presidential Campaign, huh?  Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), in a statement via The Hill:

[...] Governor Romney also cites Russia's stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons as a reason to oppose New START.  Russia does have more tactical weapons than we do, but he distorts their value by implying that they constitute a serious missile threat to Europe.  In fact, most of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons either have very short ranges, are used for homeland air defense, are devoted to the Chinese border, or are in storage.  He also ignores that our NATO allies have endorsed the New START Treaty.  A Russian attack on NATO countries is effectively deterred by NATO conventional superiority, our own tactical nuclear forces, French and British nuclear arsenals, and U.S. strategic forces.  An agreement with Russia that reduced, accounted for, and improved security around tactical nuclear arsenals is in the interest of both nations.   But these weapons do not compromise our strategic deterrent.

Rejecting the Treaty would guarantee that no agreement on tactical nukes would occur.  It also would mean giving up our human verification presence in Russia that has contributed greatly to strategic stability under the expired START I Treaty.  Having inspectors on the ground in Russia has meant that we have not had to wonder about the make-up of Russian strategic forces.  New START would strengthen our non-proliferation diplomacy worldwide, limit potential arms competition, and help us focus our defense resources effectively.  It offers concrete national security benefits that will make the American people safer, and it should be ratified.
An irresponsible hack just can't get a break these days (unless he's running for Senate in Utah, of course).

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