A neoconservative thinly disguised as an independent is unhappy with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty signed by Russia and the United States this week.
Sen. Joe Lieberman told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he would be hesitant to support the new nuclear treaty with Russia if President Barack Obama doesn’t commit to modernizing the nuclear arsenal. He also perpetuated fears of Iran.
“Senator Lieberman, you say you may vote against it,” prompted Wallace.
“Anything we can do to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world is a positive development,” Lieberman replied. “But in my opinion as we reduce the number of nuclear warheads America has in a world that is still very dangerous and in which the threat of the spread of nuclear powers, particularly Iran, grows every day, we have to make darn sure that our nuclear warheads are capable, are modern. And a lot of them are decades old.”
Lieberman said the administration must commit to modernizing the nuclear stockpile and there won’t be 67 votes to ratify the STAR Treaty unless the administration “makes absolutely clear that some of the statements by Russian president Medvedev at the signing in Prague that seem to suggest that if we continue to build the ballistic-missile defense in Europe that they may pull out of this treaty are just not acceptable to us.”
“We need that defense to protect our allies and ourselves from Iran,” he insisted.
The Obama administration has been seeking Russian support at the UN Security Council for tougher sanctions against Iran.
The so-called “new START” will limit the two former Cold War foes to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads, about 30 percent lower than a previous upper limit on warheads set in 2002. It also imposes limits on the intercontinental ballistic missiles needed to deliver the warheads.
Writing for Newsweek that eradicating nukes should still be our goal, Eleanor Clift demonstrates how far to the right Lieberman’s saber-rattling fits into the US Senate.
Asked to assess the likelihood that Obama can get the 67 votes needed in the Senate to ratify the new START treaty, Richard Burt responded that as a former political appointee of two Republican administrations he thinks it will be “very difficult for anybody to come up with a very strong set of coherent arguments against this treaty,” in part because the pact does not take sweeping steps to reduce either the U.S. or Russian arsenal. The importance of the treaty in his view extends to the greater goal of putting U.S.-Russian relations back on track. Arms-control treaties have traditionally won substantial bipartisan support in the Senate, and Burt expressed confidence that Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations committee, will be able to bring enough Republicans on board to gain ratification.
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast April 11, 2010.