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former IAEA Director-General

Editorials Nationwide Blast Delay on New START
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Volume 1, Number 38, November 29, 2010

As the Senate returns from the holiday break to resume its post-election session, a tidal wave of newspaper editorials from across the nation is urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to promptly approve the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, New START. The treaty would cap and reduce the Russian nuclear arsenal, reestablish on-site inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, strengthen international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and open the door to progress on reducing Russian tactical nuclear weapons.

On Sept. 16, with bipartisan support, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to send the treaty to the full Senate for approval. Over the course of the past eight months, the treaty has been thoroughly vetted. More than 20 senate hearings and briefings have been held, and over 900 questions have been asked and answered. Yet some Republican senators say they still can't make up their minds.

As Senator Kerry wrote in a Nov. 26 op-ed, "If differences remain, we have sufficient time to have a floor debate and consider amendments. But it is time to have fewer nuclear weapons aimed at the United States, time to have the right to inspect Russian facilities, and time to keep Moscow as an ally in the fight against Iranian proliferation. Now is the time to ratify this treaty."

Unfortunately, despite the administration's updated plan calling for $85 billion in spending to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl is apparently seeking to extract pledges of accelerated funding for the weapons complex and has gone back on his earlier suggestion that New START should be considered during the lame-duck session. Kyl's latest "pay-to-play" gambit is fiscally irresponsible, politically unsustainable, and damaging to U.S. security.

U.S. newspapers in Florida, Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma, Iowa, Oregon and other states have responded with strongly worded editorials urging Senator Kyl and his colleagues to heed the advice of the U.S. military and bipartisan national security leaders who recommend prompt approval of New START.

Norman Ornstein at the American Enterprise Institute wrote last week: "Our military leaders are not prone to wishful thinking or peace-at-any-price thinking. The stakes for America's national interest, including Iran and Afghanistan, are immense here. Please, guys, suck it up and find a way to make this work."

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted Nov. 11-14, the American public overwhelmingly supports prompt U.S. ratification of New START. The poll found that 73% of Americans believe that the United States should ratify the treaty, while 23% believe it should not.

Below is a sample of the many recent editorials urging the Senate to approve New START as soon as possible.

California

Kyl's START treaty stunt is a new low for the GOP
The San Jose Mercury News, November 17, 2010

"If you doubted that Republicans could be so craven as to put their own political interests above national security, the proof was delivered Tuesday: Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced he will block New START, which calls for the resumption of nuclear controls that until now have had bipartisan support."

One senator delaying New START pact
The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2010

"The Obama administration already set aside $80 billion over 10 years - much more than the previous administration. And to placate Kyl, the Obama administration committed to adding another $4 billion.  Still, Kyl has hunkered down. This is harmful to U.S. interests and credibility internationally."

Colorado

Playing politics on nuclear policy
The Denver Post, November 19, 2010

"The sudden and maddeningly non-specific objections to approving a long-negotiated continuation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, seem more about dealing President Obama a loss than anything substantive. That's a shame, because this agreement, which has its roots in President Reagan's administration, responsibly reduces the number of nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia and gives U.S. inspectors access to Russian nuclear silos."

Florida

Ratify START treaty
The Orlando Sentinel, November 22, 2010

"There's no practical reason to put off action on the treaty and start over with a new Congress. The Senate has held 18 hearings on the pact. In September, it was endorsed 14-4 by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with three Republicans joining the panel's Democrats on the prevailing side."

GOP senators going rogue
The Palm Beach Post, November 23, 2010

"Yet Sen. Kyl and too many fellow Republicans, including Florida's George LeMieux, seem unlikely to budge. So despite months of briefings and hearings, the Senate is likely to shuffle New START onto next year's agenda, where partisan politics again could stall ratification. Delay means that, in addition to whatever the administration must do to keep North Korea under control, our defense, intelligence and diplomatic leaders will have to spend additional effort attempting to monitor Russia, Iran and would-be nuclear terrorists. Nuclear dangers are severe enough without forcing the president to perform an unnecessarily dangerous juggling act."

Illinois

Cutting Back Nukes
The Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2010

New START "has broad support among current and former U.S. military leaders, including seven out of eight former commanders of American nuclear forces. Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, has endorsed the deal, as has Bush's former national security adviser, Stephen Hadley."

Iowa

Ratify the new START treaty now
The Des Moines Register, November 16, 2010

"The treaty is a national security issue, not something that should become the victim of partisan politics. It would somewhat reduce strategic nuclear weapons for the two powers with most of the global stockpile. It would, for example, limit d eployed warheads for each side to 1,550, down from about 2,000 currently. Mutual inspections of each other's facilities will help create transparency and stability."

Kentucky

Politics over security
The Courier-Journal, November 21, 2010

"The determination of the national Republican Party to oppose anything that could be construed as a victory for President Obama has moved from being irresponsible to downright dangerous."

"Sen. Kyl's objections make little sense. He argues that there is not time in a lame-duck session for adequate debate of complex issues, while ignoring that there have been 21 Senate hearings and months of private consultations. He has expressed concern about modernizing the nation's nuclear force, but the President has pledged to spend $84 billion over 10 years on nuclear modernization."

Maine

Security trumps politics
The Times Record, November 17, 2010

"The silence of our two U.S. senators on this treaty is perplexing, given that both Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins have supported earlier arms control agreements negotiated by Republican presidents.

We encourage them to speak up for national security and urge their Republican leaders to stop the politicking and ratify this treaty."

Maryland

Stalled on START
The Baltimore Sun, November 23, 2010

"It used to be said that partisanship should stop at the water's edge. But those days seem long gone in today's toxic political climate, in which a senior figure like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell openly boasts that his party's top priority for the next two years is to ensure that Mr. Obama is a one-term president. Never mind that New START's provisions for on-site inspection and verification were one of Ronald Reagan's most enduring foreign policy accomplishments and that Mr. Obama is seeking to improve on and extend that legacy."

Minnesota

Ratify New START yet this year
The Bemidji Pioneer, November 24, 2010

"Now is the time to vote to ratify the treaty. To delay until January means starting over again from scratch. The new START replaces the original START which was negotiated and signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan. It maintains Reagan's foremost tenet to "Trust, but verify."

Missouri

Peace not politics (or) Psst...the Cold War is over
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 19, 2010

"But nothing comes easy these days, particularly in a lame-duck session of Congress. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., says he fears there isn't time to give [New START] the consideration it deserves. This is the same Jon Kyl who, in July, said he thought the treaty was 'relatively benign.'"

"Failure to ratify [New START] would leave the United States in a far weaker diplomatic position. Friends and enemies alike would see a nation less concerned about peace than politics. They would not be wrong."

Nebraska

Senate should get STARTed
The Omaha World-Herald, September 4, 2010

"Safeguarding our national security interests stands as one of the federal government's central obligations. The U.S. Senate can fulfill that duty by approving a new strategic arms treaty with Russia."

New Hampshire

Political posturing hurting U.S. security
The Nashua Telegraph, November 21, 2010

"After stringing along the president and congressional Democrats for several months, demanding and getting more money for modernizing the nation's nuclear weapons facilities, Kyl copped out Tuesday issuing a sanctimoniously vague press release citing undefined 'complex and unresolved' issues as reasons for his determination there is not enough time to act during the lame-duck congressional session.

The time to act would have been weeks ago, still well after the more than 20 Senate hearings and countless congressional briefings regarding the treaty clarified its provisions and permutations."

New Jersey

Dangerous Delay
The Times of Trenton, November 21, 2010

"Sen. Kyl, who is front and center in the bloc of GOP opposition to ratification of the treaty, has asked "Why the rush?"  We'd like to counter with "Why the delay?"

North Carolina

U.S. Senate should ratify New START treaty
The Rocky Mount Telegram, November 27, 2010

"Kyle's main stated objection to the treaty's ratification is his claim that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the U.S. nuclear arsenal - a position at odds with the president's pledge of more than $80 billion over the next 10 years for just that purpose.

This is not the time to begin holding U.S. security interests hostage for political advantage. Ratify the treaty."

In our interest
The News and Observer, November 28, 2010

"And the new treaty emphatically would not, despite the claims of Senate critics such as Republicans Jon Kyl of Arizona and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, impinge on our right to modernize nuclear weapons or create a defensive missile shield. President Barack Obama has pledged to spend tens of billions of dollars on the former project, and as for missile defense, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a Republican appointed by Obama), flatly states that the new treaty imposes "no limits on us."

START ratification a matter of U.S. security, not petty politics
The Asheville Citizen-Times, November 27, 2010

"Kyl had said he was concerned about modernization of U.S. nuclear forces. Administration officials thought they had a deal when they offered an additional $4.1 billion for modernization. Nevertheless, Kyl insisted last week that he opposes a Senate vote this year, taking the White House by surprise.

What is his problem? Given the extent to which the treaty has already been debated, two or three days of floor time would be sufficient to iron out any issues."

Ohio

START rethinking
The Toledo Blade, November 22, 2010

"Good relations with Russia can have positive results for the United States in a number of areas, including negotiations to eliminate Iran's nuclear arms potential and efforts to achieve a Middle East peace.

By risking these potential gains in order to frustrate Mr. Obama, Republicans are acting in bad faith with not just Democrats, but the American people. They should carefully rethink their position on opposing New START."

Arms reduction is a matter of national security; it should rise above partisanship
The Vindicator, November 26, 2010

"In any case, Kyl and Corker are mixing apples and oranges. The Senate has the constitutional responsibility to ratify or reject treaties on their merits. The Senate has a separate role in the appropriation of money for federal projects, including arms development. By tying one to the other, Kyl and Corker are abdicating their responsibility to consider treaties and trivializing their ability to affect the budget."

Oklahoma

'No' to security?
The Tulsa World, November 26, 2010

"Where have [Senators] Kyl and McConnel been during the 21 Senate hearings on the treaty? Have they not paid any attention to previous treaties that have made the world and our nation a safer place?

This treaty, the first with Russia in 10 years, calls for both sides to reduce their deployed warheads to 1,550 from 2,200. That's a relatively small cut and would not diminish our nuclear deterrent. The most significant portion of the treaty is that it would restore verification, inspection and other exchanges of information about the two countries' arsenals.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."

Oregon

Don't stop START
The Oregonian, November 20, 2010

"There's no reason to block a treaty of which 67 to 73 percent of all Americans approve, according to two recent polls. There's no reason at all, except to vex an administration that happens to be controlled by Democrats. Here's hoping the Senate heeds the counsel of wise men like Lugar, and ignores the tactics of people like Kyl."

GOP should back treaty
The Register-Guard, November 24, 2010

"It is hard to believe that Republicans may try to block this treaty. Long before Obama, their party had established a tradition of strong support for the military. Today The New York Times reports that the START treaty is backed by 'Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the country's top military leaders, six former secretaries of state (from both parties), five former secretaries of defense (from both parties) and seven former nuclear weapons commanders.'"

Pennsylvania

Politics over safety
The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2010

"Despite all their postelection talk about bipartisanship, Republican leaders are sending strong signals that their main goal is to cripple this presidency and improve the chances of a GOP successor in 2012. They don't care that without START inspections, the Russians can do what they please with long-range missiles."

Tennessee

Sacrificing national security
The Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 21, 2010

"There was no acceptable reason for Arizona Sen. John Kyl, the Senate's chief Republican negotiator on the proposed treaty, to announce last Wednesday that he would oppose and help block a vote on the pending treaty. Indeed, his statement that time in the lame-duck session is too short to resolve what he claimed were remaining 'complex issues' concerning the treaty seems a blatant contrivance - an artifice to mask an obvious effort to damage President Obama politically by undercutting his ability to improve security and foreign relations in key areas abroad.

Kyl's galling move is surprising given the great value of renewing a treaty with Russia. His obstructionism puts partisan politics ahead of national security and the nation's most vital international interests. That's a lump we would think Republicans couldn't swallow given their frequent grandstanding on the importance of national security and limiting partisanship at the border."

Senators should vote on New START
The Knoxville News Sentinel, November 21, 2010

"Unfortunately, Tennessee's senators, Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, appear willing to go along with Kyl.

Instead, they should follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar on Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar confirmed his support for a vote before the lame-duck session ends during a news conference Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass."

Texas

New START now
The Houston Chronicle, November 27, 2010

"Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has said there is insufficient time to take up START in the coming lame-duck session. At this point, his position seems likely to prevail. A vote on the treaty appears likely to be delayed until after the new year.

Given the record on START discussion, Kyl's assertion begs the question: Insufficient time for what?"

"And so it is. We join many others in calling on Sen. Kyl to withdraw his objections and allow a Senate vote on the new START treaty without delay."

Utah

New START
The Salt Lake Tribune, November 24, 2010

"The treaty has received numerous Senate hearings during the past six months and the White House has committed to providing the funding to modernize the arsenal, as Sen. Kyl has asked. We believe it is in the nation's security interest for the White House and Senate Republicans to strike a deal and pave the way to ratification."

"There's no good reason to delay a ratification vote."

Washington

Senate GOP stalling on new arms treaty
The Seattle Times, November 22, 2010

"REPUBLICAN Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona is putting the politics of No ahead of national security.

Kyl is refusing to budge on a new arms-control treaty with Russia to the complete dismay of a bipartisan roll call of former secretaries of state and defense, national-security advisers and top Pentagon brass, past and present."

West Virginia

Bizarre flap over nuclear treaty
The Charleston Gazette, November 18, 2010

"And it has turned even stranger: The Senate Republican whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, declared GOP opposition to the new START missile-control treaty with Russia -- apparently for no reason except to make President Obama look bad in the eyes of the world."

"What a galling situation. Kyl cares more about playing politics than about protecting America."

Wisconsin

Senate should pass nuke weapons treaty
The Sheboygan Press, November 26, 2010

"It's ironic that [Senator] Kyl is holding the treaty hostage while he demands that the U.S. spend more money upgrading its cache of nuclear weapons. Not only does this fly in the face of the spirit of the treaty, it also makes hollow the GOP call for less government spending."

National

The Party of National Security?
The New York Times, November 18, 2010

"The world's nuclear wannabes, starting with Iran, should send a thank you note to Senator Jon Kyl. After months of negotiations with the White House, he has decided to try to block the lame-duck Senate from ratifying the New Start arms control treaty.

The treaty is so central to this country's national security, and the objections from Mr. Kyl - and apparently the whole Republican leadership - are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success."

The New START pact should be passed, not politicized
The Washington Post, November 20, 2010

"[A] delay would put the administration's 'reset' of relations with Russia at risk - along with Moscow's cooperation on vital matters like Iran's nuclear program and maintaining secure military supply routes to Afghanistan. It might lessen the willingness of nonaligned nations to cooperate with sanctions against Iran and other would-be proliferators. And it could cause both friends and foes of the United States to question Mr. Obama's leadership. At a time when the country is engaged in two wars and the president has two years left in his term, that's not an outcome that Republicans should wish for."

Nuclear treaty meltdown
The Los Angeles Times, November 18, 2010

"'I believe, and the rest of the military leadership in this country believes, that this treaty is essential to our future security,' said Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an event last week. Kyl apparently wasn't listening. His obstructionism shows that the November election hasn't changed the GOP's strategy, at least in the Senate. Republicans remain determined to thwart Obama's agenda and sabotage his legacy even when doing so is deeply contrary to the national interest."

- ROB GOLAN-VILELLA

Posted: November 29, 2010