It's undoubtedly a time of nuclear angst, but Moscow doesn't have much
to do with it. Pyongyang just revealed a vast new uranium-enrichment
plant. North Korea's nuclear program is truly a problem from hell.
It's much easier to execute a pantomime of high-stakes Cold War
diplomacy with the Russians and claim to have saved the world.
The case for New START is so weak that we'd better hope the fate of
the planet doesn't hinge on it. It places a limit on strategic
warheads of 1,550, and a limit on deployed delivery vehicles -
missiles, bombers, submarines - at 700. Even in theory, this isn't
much of a cut in warheads. Under the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, Russia and
the United States had already agreed to arsenals of 2,200 to 1,700
Here's the catch: The Russians are already beneath 700 launchers. The
aging of their arsenal, coupled with economic constraints, means that
they aren't going higher regardless. Effectively, New START only
mandates cuts on us, and we make concessions to the Russians for the
privilege. This is classic Obama chump diplomacy.
In the final analysis, the administration wants the treaty because it
thinks it makes the Russians feel good and fosters a "reset." The
benefits of reset are overrated, though. Yes, the Russians voted for
the fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran, but only after
watering them down along with the Chinese. They have made it clear
they won't support more stringent sanctions outside the U.N.
If Obama wants to butter up Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his
countrymen, surely there are easier ways than with a flawed
arms-control treaty. Maybe a bow is in order?http://www.realclearpolitics.