Putin: Opposition to START is 'dumb'

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned that the country would likely build up its military force if a stalled nuclear arms reduction pact is not ratified by the U.S. 

Putin -- the former Russian president -- bluntly assessed the situation in an interview that will air Wednesday night, calling opposition to the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) "dumb." He said that Russia would deploy new nuclear technology should the treaty fail to pass.

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"That's not our choice. We don't want that to happen. But this is not a threat on our part," Putin told CNN's Larry King, who said it would take a "very dumb nature" for the U.S. to throw away the treaty. "We've been simply saying that this is what all of us expects to happen if we don't agree on a joint effort there."

Pressure has been building for the Senate to ratify START during the brief lame-duck session of Congress.

Republicans have objected to the pact, which was signed in April, expressing concern over nuclear modernization and missile defense.

President Obama has repeatedly called on the Senate to ratify the treaty, a vote that requires the support of 67 senators.

"When you have uncertainty in the area of nuclear weapons, that's a much more dangerous world to live in," Obama said at an afternoon press conference following a meeting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. "Now, it's time to get this done."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted the treaty would be ratified before Christmas, noting positive comments from Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and George Voinovich (Ohio).