Bipartisan support for START in US
Today marks the 65th anniversary since the first test of a nuclear bomb and the day nears when Russia and the US will soon ratify the START Treaty.
The START Treaty has bipartisan support in the United States, but there is a smaller group of conservatives who oppose the treaty, including Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
“What’s important to remember here is that here are two sets of conservatives that have concerns about that START Treaty,” said Josh Rogin, a staff writer for Foreign Policy Magazine.
On one side you have leading senators like John McCain, who has some concerns, but may still vote for the treaty. On the other side you have individuals like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin who are using the issue to target US President Barack Obama and the arms control process in general, argued Rogin.
“Leading candidates like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin who don’t make really analytical arguments they just bash on Russia and they bash on the treaty because they think that buys them political points,” said Rogin.
However, Rogin does not think Palin and Romney are likely to mount a strong enough opposition to the treaty to prevent its passage in congress.
Their opposition will be more important after this congress for the arms reduction agenda in general after the upcoming election, which is likely to bring more Republicans into office.
Many have referred to the treaty as a very modest treaty that reduces both the arsenals of the US and Russia by only 30%. Most Republicans agree, but a few are using the issue for political reasons based on no analytical basis.
“There is broad bipartisan condenses that reducing nuclear weapons is a good thing. It reduces the risk of nuclear weapons getting to the hands of terrorists, it reduces the chances of an accidental loss, it improves the relationship and communication between the US and Russia, which has to be a good thing,” said Rogin.
The US is pushing for other states to disarm, but the US has not been committed to the reeducation of its weapons stockpile in recent years, ratifying the START Treaty would send a good message to the international community.
“There will always be a small vocal local minority of people who will believe more weapons are better. Those people are not going away,” said Rogin.