Stalled From The START

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If there were any doubts as to President Barack Obama’s religious affiliations, then this past Wednesday ought to roast them like chestnuts in an open fire. With assistance from the more pliable Republican spines in the Senate, Obama handed the Russian military machine one whopper of a Christmas gift.

Carrying through on his campaign promise (for once), Obama managed to push the New START treaty through the just-ended lame-duck session of the Senate. To hear Obama and the treaty’s backers tell the tale, New START will ensure a lasting peace across the planet. However, a perusal of the treaty’s provisions reveals that peace remains far from guaranteed; and may have gotten a lot more expensive — for us.

According to Senator John Kerry:

“…we move the world a little out of the dark shadow of nuclear nightmare…"

Outside Chernobyl — to which nuclear nightmare might the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts be referring? The reason huge swaths of the planetary rabble have never been subjected to a nuclear nightmare is that one nation — the United States — has been willing and able to invest in and maintain a deterrent arsenal.

Examination of New START calls to mind the warnings at some national parks: “Please don’t feed the bears.” In the case of the Russians, Obama has made what he considers a diplomatic gesture. The problem is that the Russians look at diplomatic gestures the way ursines look at roast beef sandwiches: “Nice sandwich. I wonder if we can get the whole arm.”

New START does not reduce tactical nuclear weapons, in which the Russians hold a nearly 10 to one advantage over us. Presuming the Russians abide by treaty provisions (which by itself would be a hell of thing), Obama has essentially agreed to limit shotguns, while ignoring all their AK-47s.

In addition, New START is a nuclear-powered raspberry to allies we’ve spent nearly two decades warming up after they spent a half-century enduring a long Soviet winter. In order to convince the Russians to go along with New START, Obama agreed to scrap planned missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Democrats often wax rhapsodic about their admiration for European culture. According to paragraph nine of New START’s preamble, American missile defense systems must be limited so as to:

“…not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the strategic offensive arms of the Parties.”

New START could potentially allow them to appreciate European culture at night; once it glows in the dark. And the Russians are already threatening to abrogate the treaty should we place new “nukebusters” in Europe. According to General Yevgeny Buzinskiy:

“… (it is) possible for us, in case the Americans increase their strategic ABM system, to claim that they are not observing… the treaty."

The President signed New START in April. The Senate ratified it last Thursday. The Russians are acting like they had their fingers crossed the whole time, with General Nikolai Makarov saying:

"The Strategic Rocket Forces will not be reduced. The forces will be armed with modern mobile missile launchers."

They’ve already found a loophole and they’re going to exploit it like a blind drunk babushka.

There’s also a minor detail regarding nuclear-armed countries which speak both English AND Russian with funny accents. New START has no effect on nations other than Russia and the United States. The Chi-coms are nearly as good at building nukes as they are at pirating DVDs and running over dissenters with tanks. They are not a party to New START. Neither is North Korea, which has nuclear weapons under the thumb of Kim Jong Il, who’s a monocle and pet cat away from being a James Bond movie villain. Neither is Iran, which is diligently working on nuclear power for peaceful means — honest! Neither is Pakistan, which is an Islamabad cricket match from being renamed “Jihadistan,” and electing “President bin Laden.”

New START also has a limited verification provision, which amounts to a “the inspectors are here, act like we’re not playing with the enriched uranium” effect. But it will have virtually no impact on movements of non-covered (read: tactical) weapons within the signatory countries. With the Russians infamously lax in the weapon-security department, the possibility exists that a Russian weapon could end up in the hands of our good friends in al-Qaida — and ultimately in a suburban shopping mall.

New START is the worst kind of flower-child diplomacy. Our co-signers are about as likely to abide by the letter of the agreement as John Kerry is to win a presidential election. (Too soon?) The treaty puts the United States at a marked, and potentially dangerous, disadvantage. While Obama’s general ineptitude is — at best — trying, this sort of muddled “peace at any price” foreign policy is somewhat frightening.

To quote Homer:

"There can be no covenants between men and lions."

Nor bears.

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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