The Big Question: Will Obama be able to pass the START treaty?

Justin Raimondo, editorial director of, said:

If reason prevails, then yes. But that's like saying, if the clock strikes noon at midnight.

Sen. Jim DeMint and the GOP seem determined to stop it, and they will stop it. Even Rand Paul, the libertarian from Kentucky, is sending signals that he'll vote nay. Can we count on Sen. Dick Lugar to talk sense to the Republican caucus? It's an open question: I just don't know, but can only hope. Because in the midst of all this groping and porno-scanning by the TSA Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons at the nation's airports, the real threat to American security is the possibility of "loose nukes," i.e., nuclear weapons and materials that somehow got lost or unaccounted for in the former Soviet Union. The START treaty ensures that we have the right to inspect Soviet nuclear facilities, including having an overview of their security arrangements — if the treaty expires, we lose that right. And then it won't be just printer cartridges coming in from Yemen — it will be suitcase nukes coming in from, say, Kazakhstan, or some other ex-Soviet "republic" with an Islamic insurgency on its hands.

Paul Kawika Martin, policy and political director of Peace Action, said:

It's clear that the 67 votes needed for the Senate to advise and consent to ratifying the New START treaty are there. It seems that Republican leadership, especially Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), seem determined to put partisan politics above national security.

The list of respected Republican foreign policy and national security experts that are urging ratification are perhaps greater than the more than 20,000 nuclear weapons that still exist in our post-Cold-War world. For example:

Sen. Dick Lugar, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Republican foreign policy strategist Max Boot
Chuck Hagel, former senator (R-NE)
George P. Shultz, former U.S. Secretary of State
Former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft
Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

The list of high-ranking military leaders is equally as long:

Brig. Gen. John Adams (U.S. Army, retired)
Lt. Gen. John G. Castellaw (U.S. Marine Corps, retired)
Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Cheney (U.S. Marine Corps, retired)
Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (U.S. Army, retired)
Lt. Gen. Robert Gard Jr. (U.S. Army, retired)
Vice Adm. Lee Gunn (U.S. Navy, retired)
Maj. Gen. Marcelite Harris (U.S. Air Force, retired)
Lt. Gen. Arlen “Dirk” Jameson (U.S. Air Force, retired)
Brig. Gen. John H. Johns, Ph.D. (U.S. Army, retired)
Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick (U.S. Army, retired)
Col. Richard L. Klass (U.S. Air Force, retired)
Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense
Rear Adm. Rosanne M. LeVitre (U.S. Navy, retired)
Gen. Merrill “Tony” McPeak (U.S. Air Force, retired)
Adm. William Owens (U.S. Navy, Ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster (U.S. Army, retired)
Lt. Gen. James M. Thompson (U.S. Army, retired)
Maj. Gen. Jasper Welch (U.S. Air Force, retired)

All the above and more support the treaty because it is extremely modest and will make the world safer. When the former START treaty expired nearly a year ago, all verification protocols between the U.S. and Russia stopped. The longer the new treaty is delayed, the longer we can't confirm that Russia is securing or destroying nuclear material and their arsenal. If you believe we continue to need nuclear weapons as a deterrent, Air Force scholars and other security experts agree the U.S. only needs about 300 warheads. This treaty leaves us with more than 1,500.

GOP arguments seem like a smoke screen. They mention constraints on "missile defense" and lack of funds to "modernize" U.S. nuclear weapons. The head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency supports the treaty. Even though experts agree that the current U.S. nuclear stockpile will continue to be reliable for decades to come with increased funding, the near 14 billion dollars that the Obama administration has thrown towards Sen. Jon Kyl is a boondoggle for the nuclear weapons labs.

I think the question isn't whether President Obama can garner the votes, it's whether he can convince Republican leadership to move past politics and do what is right for Americans — ratifying the New START Treaty.

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