For all the Republicans’ bluster during the Bush administration about national security-hating “Defeatocrats,” it seems the cards have finally turned.
President Obama has in recent days demanded that Congress ratify the START nuclear treaty with Russia, which would enhance America’s commitment to nonproliferation and strengthen ties with former nuclear arch-rival.
“Without ratification this year, the United States will have no inspectors on the ground, and no ability to verify Russian nuclear activities,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.
“Without ratification, we put at risk the coalition that we have built to put pressure on Iran, and the transit route through Russia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan,” he continued.
But Republicans seem content with delaying the process, if not stopping it outright.
“These broader ramifications of ratification go across the world,” explained Edward Luce, reporter for The Financial Times, during a recent appearance on ABC’s This Week.
“Russia’s cooperation is something Obama has worked on very successfully, very patiently… for two years now and this puts that in jeopardy.”
He added that Republicans, set about their agenda to make Obama a one-term president, may ultimately go about it unintelligently.
“Pick two countries that would like to see a failure of ratification: it would be North Korea and Iran,” Luce continued. “I think if that argument doesn’t work with the Republicans, that sort of basic, elemental national security argument doesn’t work, nothing is. There is a greater hatred of Obama than there is a love of American national security.”
The treaty — signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Obama at an elaborate ceremony in Prague in April — restricts each nation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads, a cut of about 30 percent from a limit set in 2002.
The agreement, a top Obama foreign policy initiative, replaces a previous accord that lapsed in December 2009 and also requires ratification by Russia’s lower house, the Duma.
Some Republicans have confessed that they want to stall its passage to embarrass President Obama.
“The choice is clear: a failure to ratify New START would be a dangerous gamble with America’s national security, setting back our understanding of Russia’s nuclear weapons, as well as our leadership in the world,” Obama said. “That is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do.”
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Nov. 21, 2010.
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