Earlier this week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John KerryJohn KerryEgypt’s death squads and America's deafening silence With help from US, transformative change in Iran is within reach Ellison comments on Obama criticized as 'a stupid thing to say' MORE (D-Mass.) postponed committee consideration of New START until September. Ben Goddard (“Wedge issues go nuclear” 8/4) was kind enough to credit Heritage Action for America for that delay, but he misrepresented our efforts. Heritage Action’s opposition to the treaty stems from serious policy concerns, not anti-Obama politics.
New START focuses exclusively on Russia, while ignoring the nuclear threats posed by Iran and North Korea. It also ignores Russia’s massive tactical nuclear arsenal. In the words of Secretary Henry Kissinger, the treaty also places limits on the “strategic options of future presidents.” This is unacceptable and dangerous.
Serious arms control experts share these concerns: Eric Edelman, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Robert Joseph, former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; and Paula A. DeSutter, former assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance.
Treaty proponents should directly address these concerns. Instead, Mr. Goddard dismisses treaty critics as part of the “Bolton/Gingrich/Palin wing of the GOP.” If the treaty is flawless, why would he, Sen. Kerry or President Obama shy away from this debate?
Heritage Action for America is committed to engaging in a constructive, policy-based debate. That is precisely why we launched a nationwide campaign last month to educate the American people on the security implications of New START. Up until that point, debate on the treaty consisted of disarmament groups lobbying “quietly behind the scenes.”
Americans are tired of quiet, behind the scenes lobbying. They want and deserve to be part of this important national debate. The delayed committee vote gives Americans that chance. It also gives senators a chance to view the full negotiating records, something former Sen. Sam Nunn said was essential.
It is time for treaty proponents to stop playing politics. Conservatives are eager for a real debate, as are the American people.
Ease legislation gridlock, and require 55 for cloture
Christian Dorsey and Elliott Oakley, Government Affairs team at the Economic Policy Institute
Oakley, Government Affairs team
at the Economic Policy Institute