I guess we now have a new meaning of the term “nuclear option” and just how much the Republicans are willing to sell out their own country and their own principals for partisan political gain.
The nuclear Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) expired in December 2009. The original START was negotiated by the Reagan administration and was responsible for reducing the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world.
In April 2010, the Obama administration negotiated a new START, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world even more. It also signaled a new era of cooperation between Russia and the US, including Russia helping put pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program. The treaty is clearly good for America.
The new treaty has been “endorsed by six former secretaries of state and five former secretaries of defense from both parties; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; seven former Strategic Command chiefs; national security advisers from both parties, and nearly all former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces.”
Not only that, but the treaty enjoys strong bipartisan support. A new survey from CNN shows that 73% of Americans say the new treaty should be ratified, with only 23% against it. In fact, a breakdown by political affiliation shows a majority supports the treaty, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, or whether you consider yourself a Liberal, Moderate, or Conservative.
The Obama administration even reached out to Republicans, negotiating with Republican Senator Jon Kyl. Kyl insisted that additional money be spent to modernize our existing nuclear arsenal. The White House offered $40 billion dollars, but he said that wasn’t enough, and asked for an additional $4.1 billion more. The White House said yes, giving him everything he asked for. This is in addition to the $100 billion already allocated to upgrading our nuclear weapons.
So much for Republican claims that they want to balance the budget.
But it was all for naught. Today, Kyl announced that he would block the vote on the treaty. He didn’t even have the decency to inform the Obama administration, who learned about it from the media.
Why would Kyl play Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown? Why would he block a treaty that is so important to our national security, spitting on the legacy of Reagan? Why would he utterly destroy American credibility on the global stage, just when we are starting to regain it? And why would he pretend to negotiate with the Obama administration, and when they give him everything he asked for, then pull the rug out from under the treaty?
The only explanation anyone can come up with is the Republicans refuse to let Obama do anything that can be seen as good. Obama recently declared that ratification of the treaty was his “top priority” for the lame duck session of Congress that opened this week. But the Party of No doesn’t care about our country, about preventing our enemies from obtaining nuclear weapons, or even about our economy. All they care about is partisan advantage.
It makes me sick.
The rest of the world wonders why we put up with this. The French ambassador asks us “Have you been drinking?” To them, the notion that a legislature would hate their president more than they love their country just doesn’t seem plausible. Welcome to America.