As soon as this new START treaty was ratified in the Senate we became less secure and more vulnerable to a multitude of threats. For what? To demonstrate we are committed to non proliferation policies? We have led on that for decades. Why are we worried what others may think of us when they will continue to think of us as they choose to regardless?
The fact that this was done during a lame duck session of congress demonstrates to the people of America something too, our government under the Democrats, does not care what the people say, or want, but do care what the rest of the world thinks of them.
There was no justifiable reason to take this matter up, and rush it without thorough debate during the lame duck session-- other than needing votes from people that America fired in November.
Once again the 111th Congress, and a president weak on defense, have failed the American people; this time via dereliction of duty-- for nothing but temporary political gain.
OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. SENATE on the New START Treaty
As you know, President Obama insists that the United States Senate advise and consent during the present lame-duck session to the bilateral U.S.-Russian strategic arms control treaty known as "New START" that he signed earlier this year in Prague. It is our considered professional judgment that this treaty and the larger disarmament agenda which its ratification would endorse are not consistent with the national security interests of the United States, and that both should be rejected by the Senate.
Administration efforts to compel the Senate to vote under circumstances in which an informed and full debate are effectively precluded is inconsistent with your institution's precedents, its constitutionally mandated quality-control responsibilities with respect to treaties and, in particular, the critical deliberation New START requires in light of that accord's myriad defects, of which the following are especially problematic:
- It is unnecessary and ill-advised for the United States to make these sorts of deep reductions in its strategic forces in order to achieve sharp cuts in those of the Russian Federation. After all, the Kremlin's strategic systems have not been designed for long service lives. Consequently, the number of deployed Russian strategic intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and long-range, nuclear-capable bombers will drop dramatically, with or without a new arms control agreement.
There are serious downsides for the United States in moving to the sorts of low numbers of strategic launchers called for in the New START Treaty. These include:
- New START would encourage placing more warheads on the remaining launchers, i.e., "MIRVing" — which is precisely what the Russians are doing. Moving away from heavily MIRVed strategic launchers has long been considered a highly stabilizing approach to the deployment of strategic forces — and a key U.S. START goal.
- New START would reduce the survivability and flexibility of our forces — which is exactly the wrong posture to be adopting in the uncertain and dynamic post-Cold War strategic environment. The bipartisan Congressional Strategic Posture Commission concluded that "preserving the resilience and survivability of U.S. forces" is essential. The very low launcher levels required by New START are at odds with both of those necessary conditions.
- New START's low ceilings on launchers and warheads can only create concerns about America's extended deterrent. Allied nations have privately warned that the United States must not reduce its strategic force levels to numbers so low that they call into question the credibility of the U.S. nuclear umbrella or encourage China to see an opportunity to achieve strategic parity with the United States. Some of those who have long looked to us for security may feel constrained to develop and field their own deterrents — a formula for intensified proliferation.
- New START's limitations could result in the destruction of U.S. multi-purpose strategic bombers, affecting not only the robustness of our nuclear deterrent but cutting into our conventional capabilities, as well.
- Were the United States to slash its strategic nuclear forces to match those the Russians can afford, it would ironically ensure that it has far fewer nuclear weapons — not parity with the Kremlin — when the latter's ten-to-one advantage in tactical weapons is taken into account. The Russians have consistently refused to limit their tactical nuclear arms, and will surely continue to do so in the future, especially since Moscow has little incentive to negotiate limitations on such weapons when the numbers are so asymmetrical.
Such capabilities constitute a real asymmetric advantage for Moscow. What is more, given that these Russian tactical nuclear weapons are of greatest concern with regard to the potential for nuclear war and proliferation, we cannot safely ignore their presence in large numbers in Russia's arsenal. It is certainly ill-advised to make agreements reducing our nuclear deterrent that fail to take them into account.
- New START imposes de facto or de jure limitations on such important U.S. non-nuclear capabilities as prompt global strike and missile defenses. In the future, the nation is likely to need the flexibility to field both in quantity. It would be folly to limit, let alone effectively preclude, available options to do so.
- New START is simply not adequately verifiable. Lest assurances that the treaty will be "effectively" verifiable obscure that reality, the truth is that the Russians could engage in militarily significant violations with little fear of detection by the United States. And, for reasons discussed below, it could take years before we could respond appropriately.
This goal has shaped the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and would, if left unchanged, condemn the United States to a posture of unilateral nuclear disarmament. (See, in this regard, the attached essay by Vice Admiral Robert Monroe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 25, 2010.) By precluding the development and production of new nuclear weapons and the realistic testing of those currently in the stockpile and by "devaluing" the role played by these weapons and the mission of those responsible for maintaining our deterrent, the NPR sets the stage for the continued obsolescence and atrophying of our arsenal. No other nuclear power is engaged in such behavior. And, given our global security responsibilities and the growing dangers from various quarters, neither should we.
For all these reasons, we urge you to resist pressure to consider the New START Treaty during the lame-duck session. The Senate should reject this accord and begin instead a long-overdue and vitally needed process of modernization of the nuclear stockpile and refurbishment of the weapons complex that supports it. Only by taking such steps can we ensure that we will, in fact, have the "safe, secure and effective deterrent" that even President Obama says we will need for the foreseeable future.
Judge William P. Clark, former national security advisor to the president
Hon. Edwin Meese III, former counselor the president; former U.S. attorney general
Hon. Kathleen Bailey, former assistant director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Norman Bailey, former senior director of International Economic Affairs
Hon. Robert B. Barker, former assistant to the secretary of Defense (atomic energy)
Amb. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, former undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, former assistant secretary of State for international organization affairs
Brig. Gen. Jimmy L. Cash, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), former vice commander, 7th Air Force
Honorable Fred S. Celec, former assistant to thesecretary of Defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, former director, Strategic Defense Initiative, former chief U.S. negotiator, defense and space talks with the Soviet Union
Honorable Paula DeSutter, former assistant secretary of State for verification, compliance, and implementation
Honorable Fritz W. Ermarth, former chairman and national intelligence officer, National Intelligence Council; former member of the National Security Council staff
Frank J. Gaffney Jr., former assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy (acting)
Daniel J. Gallington, former secretary of Defense representative, defense and space talks; former general counsel, United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and former special assistant to the secretary of Defense for policy
Honorable Bruce S. Gelb, former director, U.S. Information Agency, former ambassador to Belgium
Honorable William Graham, former chairman, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, former science adviser to the president, former deputy administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Ambassador Read Hammer, former U.S. chief START negotiator; former deputy director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Honorable Fred Iklé, former undersecretary of Defense for policy
Sven F. Kraemer, former arms control director, National Security Council
Dr. John Lenczowksi, former director of European and Soviet affairs, National Security Council
Admassador James "Ace" Lyons Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), former commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Tidal W. McCoy, former secretary of the Air Force (acting)
Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), former deputy chief of staff
Honorable J. William Middendorf II, former secretary of the Navy, former ambassador to the European Union, the Netherlands, and the Organization of American States
Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, U.S. Navy (Ret.), former director, Defense Nuclear Agency
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, former senior staff, Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States; former senior staff, Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack
Roger W. Robinson Jr., former senior director of International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council, former executive secretary of the Cabinet-level Senior Inter-Governmental Group for International Economic Policy
Ambassador Ed Rowny, former U.S. chief START negotiator; former special adviser to President Ronald Reagan on arms control
Michael S. Swetnam, former program monitor, intelligence community staff with liaison responsibilities to INF and START Interagency Groups, and former member of the Technical Advisory Group to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, U.S. Army (Ret.), former deputy commander, U.S. Army Pacific
Honorable Michelle Van Cleave, former national counterintelligence executive
Dr. William Van Cleave, former director, Department of Defense Transition Team
Honorable Troy Wade, former director, Defense Programs, U.S. Department of Energy.