Republicans Stall the START Treaty And Dream of More Deficit Spending

President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev sign START

Here is what we’re hearing from the Republicans since the midterms:

1)      Attack Iran

2)      Do not cut defense spending

3)      Put nuclear treaty with Russia on back burner

In exchange, Republicans have said they will voluntarily forgo earmarks.

There should be dancing in the street.

Smoke and mirrors is how the Republicans govern. Lots of flash, lots of misdirection (invade Iraq, anyone?) and endless spin, but nothing of any real substance, no evidence that any Republican is really interested in real world problems or in solving them.

Jon Kyl, who is the second-ranking Senate Republican said Congress is too busy to consider the nuclear treaty, signed by Obama in April.

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame-duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization.”

It’s not as if getting control of nuclear stockpiles is important or anything. The new START treaty would commit the U.S. and Russia to cut their deployed nuclear weapons by about 30 percent within seven years.

Of course, ratifying the treaty is one of President Obama’s major goals. It’s no surprise that the Republicans don’t find it important. They’re going to be too busy grandstanding to actually do anything.

And what does Kyl want? Kyl wants more money for modernization of U.S. strategic forces i.e. nuclear forces. But Obama did pledge to spend $80 billion over the next decade on upgraded our nuclear forces. Doesn’t sound too complex to me.

Always with the defense spending. The Republicans seem to have a one-track mind.

You would think Republicans would be concerned about Russia’s nuclear weapons. After all, they might fall into the hands of terrorists. And as Vice President Joe Biden points out,

“Without ratification of this treaty, we will have no Americans on the ground to inspect Russia’s nuclear activities, no verification regime to track Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal … and no verified nuclear reductions.”

Gosh, you think it might be the oversight that bothers Republicans? They don’t want oversight anywhere, not of the oil industry, Wall Street, or even their own ethics. Maybe they don’t think the Russians should be bothered by it either.

Apparently they only care about WMDs when Iraq or Iran have them, er, um…make that don’t have them.

Republicans claim we need an anti-missile defense system [cue to them rubbing their hands greedily together in anticipation]. But isn’t the best way to get rid of a missile threat to get rid of the missiles themselves? Oh wait, a missile defense system is another way to spend money and ratchet up the U.S. deficit. Getting rid of missiles gives Republicans less to spend money on.

Now I get it.

Though they really don’t have any valid argument to base their objections on. Ambassador Richard Burt,  who was one of the chief negotiators when the original START treaty was agreed, points out that his is a rather modest agreement that reduces existing U.S. forces by between 20 and 25 percent,” he said. “It doesn’t affect our existing force structure of bombers and land-based missiles and sea-based missiles. And it provides for a very rigorous verification regime.”

Sounds good to me. It’s not as if the treaty will make America weaker, or threaten our national security, which is what Republicans claim they are concerned about. But defense spending has become as important to Republicans as abortion, and they are ideologically wedded to both. Meanwhile, they will continue to play games and pretend to be concerned about the deficit, and expect the American people to go along with their spiel. Republicans likely will, if only with a nod and a wink (the alternative is stupidity and I want to be magnanimous) but Democrats and independents ought to be concerned.

There is simply no excuse to keep defense spending where it is when so many Americans are suffering and being asked to give up so much. It is not justified by circumstances and it is completely and irredeemably immoral.

13 Replies to “Republicans Stall the START Treaty And Dream of More Deficit Spending”

  1. Even Senator Lugar has spoken out and said that the republicans need to get on board and ratify the new START treaty. He worked with Obama on another treaty involving nuclear weapons a few years ago and understands how important this treaty is, but these rabid republicans will not listen to him. Right now, they’re drunk on the “power” they feel they displayed in the midterm elections and feel that they can do whatever they want to do at this point. IMHO, they’re children who have been wrongfully elected to do the work of serious adults.

  2. They will find out the hard way, as polls have shown, that the results of this election was not a mandate from the people.

  3. This is a really well crafted post, Hraf. Not only is your point dead on, but you’ve exposed the real agenda behind the Republicans stalling on the START treaty. Great work.

    I often wonder when listening to them rail about national security and go all Hawkish on us why they refuse to appoint certain positions still; their endless secret holds on important positions like the head of TSA security are a threat to us all. And yet the media never reports these things. Trust me, if a Democratic minority withheld approval for national security appointments, we would never hear the end of it; Democrats would be tagged as anti-American and anti-security faster than you can snap your fingers.

    And here they are threatening something that their idol, Ronnie, was all for. Every sane person is for nuclear weapon reduction. There is no valid argument against it – but certainly “we’re too busy” is the most pathetic excuse ever offered.

    Hey, boys, the President isn’t too busy to read bills, handle your obstructionism, deal with Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, China, India, the American economy and the civil rights of Americans so how can you boys be “too busy” dealing with earmarks to deal with world safety? (this is right up there with “we couldn’t read the bill” that was provided to us months in advance because it was “too long”. What in the Hell do we pay you people for? I notice they weren’t too busy to golf, pay their mistresses from our tax dollars, etc) What in the hell is wrong with them? It is quite simply unconscionable.

  4. Thanks, Sarah. I get sicker by the minute watching them and the elections weren’t even a month ago. I can’t imagine two years from now. They’re just getting started. As you say, the media has really let the American people down. Democrats would never get away with what the Republicans are pulling. I guess we’ll have no real voice (nor will reason and sanity) until we have our own network. Pretty sad that it comes down to that, but then the Republicans have been buying elections for over a century now and they’re pretty damn good at it.

  5. I know this is old school thinking, but I really don’t want to become what they are in order to fight them. I keep thinking about Obama and how he uses the force of their bad behavior against them by ducking until their punch hits them in their own face. It takes a long time and requires patience, but it did seem to work. Not so sure about it working while governing, though I have more faith in Obama’s strategic mind than I do the Left’s assessment of it or the Republicans’ underestimation of it.

  6. No, and I don’t either, Sarah, and you have a good point about Obama’s straategic mind and really I’d rather trust to that, given a choice, even if I don’t always understand what he’s doing or why.

  7. I wonder who we need antimissile defense system to defend ourselves against? There is no one in this world stupid enough to think that we can have a nuclear war and continue our civilization. Not even Iran is that stupid. As far as I’m concerned spending $80 billion to improve our nuclear force is money wasted.

    This world has to get down to zero nuclear weapons before an idiot pulls the trigger on a couple of them. It will be a very long time before Russia and China could ever compete with us in a nuclear war.but you see there is no competition because it doesn’t take many bombs to do the trick. But I think you’re right when you say that they just want go through with this because it is Obama’s treaty. Republicans make me sick. And quite frankly I’m not sure if I agree about not becoming them in order to fight back, that certainly worked for them. If the Democrats remain silent while the Republicans do this, the Republicans have won. Obama had better have so much higher ratings before whatever he does takes hold with the American people

  8. You people are just insane. A US missile defense shield is necessary to keep us safe from countries like Iran and North Korea. While you armchair politicians might believe that no one in their right mind would start a nuclear war, you ignore the perhaps hundreds of thousands of people that would, be it for their own profit (backing a militant organization) or to cause harm in response to some perceived slight.

    The fact is that there are nuclear weapons in the hands of people are are irresponsible with them. The US missile defense shield is a great idea, and while costly, it does protect the US, and, for that matter, all of Europe. Obama was dumb to have cancelled the ground based interceptors in Europe, but at least with Aegis Ashore, we’ll get the Aegis Weapons System’s SM-3 missile defense capability.

    As for Republicans wanting nothing more than to spend on the military, how is this any different than Democrats wanting nothing more than to spend tax dollars on people who refuse to work, in the name of ‘social welfare?’ Oh, that’s right, spending money on the military actually employs people and furthers the technological advancements of this nation, not to mention DEFENDS the country.

  9. Joe,

    I’m sorry, but your just wrong. “People who refuse to work” Really? I suppose the 10% of unemployed nationwide enjoy their financial turmoil. Not everyone in this country can be employed because there aren’t enough jobs. You think bulking up military will help? Well, it didn’t for Bush, in fact, it made things worse. Why? Because our education is so messed up that we don’t graduate students at a suitable professional level to compete with other countries. That’s why a lot of head engineers are European or Indian. We pay them to come here because we’re too stupid to continue advancing ourselves.

    Only a fool would argue against this treaty. We have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the ENTIRE WORLD twelve times over. TWELVE. Why is that important to you? There is absolutely no point in it.

    Saying that people “refuse” to work is preposterous. The jobs available don’t have qualified US applicants. We should fix education and stop trying to build up weapons more and more. Besides, Nuclear weapons are about to become obsolete. New anti-matter bombs will take their place, and we’ll only need one of those to wipe out an entire country. No joke.

    Jim,

    You obviously haven’t seen what its like for a family forced to make a choice between keeping their electric on or buying food to eat. 17 million American families struggle to put food on the table. That’s 15% of our own population that’s on the brink of starvation. You’d think that, as advanced as we are, we would be able to figure out how to give all the people in this country food and shelter so they can have an opportunity to better themselves. Unfortunately, people (like you) think that helping out our fellow countrymen is stupid, but killing other people across the sea is just fine.

  10. People do refuse to work. I know plenty of people who would rather draw their unemployment benefits until the bitter end, than go work a menial job at Home Depot or Lowe’s, who, by the way, are hiring constantly. Heck, Sears hires sales associates at $13+/hour to start, plus commission in my area. A buddy of mine was laid off two years ago. He waited 20 months before he finally started seriously looking for a job. In the meantime, he lived at home, and spent every red cent that he had coming in on crap for his car, rather than saving, investing, or investing in himself with additional schooling (he’s two classes away from a bachelors degree). I know plenty of people like this, staying home, watching Oprah, simply because the gubmint is taking care of them.

    Now, as far as anti-matter bombs are concerned, perhaps you should apply your assertions about education and do some research about them. They’re a theoretical weapon that may or may not be available before we’re holding handheld laser blasters and lightsabers.

    On to education, we pump BILLIONS of dollars into education per year in this country, doing nothing more than feeding greedy teachers unions. $5500 of the $7000 that I pay in property taxes per year go to educating students in my town, yet I have no children. My college tuition cost me $125,000, and I have a job that, after five years, is making me about $100,000 as a systems engineer. My little brother is spending $150,000 on his college education, and he’ll be lucky to get a job making $50,000 after five years. Why? Because he’s going to school for political science. Why is he doing that? Because it’s easy. We have millions of college students in this country that shouldn’t be going to college, they should be learning a trade. If college was more difficult to get into, and more difficult to graduate from, less 18 year old kids would go into college. Thus, more 18 year olds would start apprenticeships, and would learn a trade. Why is that good? Because it creates hard working, blue collar workers that are able to do things for themselves, rather than farm everything out, like has been done for years. The most significant uptick in college enrollment happened in the late 60s and early 70s, extending into the early 80s. Why? Because hippies didn’t want to go to war. At that same time, much of our manufacturing started to be sent overseas, because there were too many people coming out of college, expecting high paying office jobs, and no one wanted to work an assembly line. Thus, the jobs were shipped to other countries with cheap labor. It’s a reality of a profitable company. To become and remain profitable, you need to cut costs, and make things for the cheapest amount you can.

    Also, I didn’t say anything about not wanting a new START treaty. Frankly, I’d rather have one, simply so we can see what those sneaky Russians are doing, and make sure that they’re disposing of things properly. My argument was for the missile defense shield, which is not so much targeted towards defending against an attack by Russia, but by an attack coming from a rogue nation. Read before speaking…err, typing.

  11. Actually, an antimatter bomb is completely within our grasp. Scientists at CERN were able to trap antimatter for study earlier this week for the first time in history. When one kilogram of antimatter collides with matter, it yields approximately the same blast force of hundreds of kilograms of fissile material used in nuclear devises.

    Naval ships are being outfitted with high powered lasers too, if you didn’t catch that in the news either.

    Here are the articles, (and wikipedia is a horrible source.)

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/11/17/antimatter-antihydrogen-atoms-trap.html

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/navys-super-laser-wont-just-be-a-weapon/

    You’re right, we pump Billions into education. Not TRILLIONS like we do the military. Less than 10% of the amount we spend on funding for the military is given to our schools. That includes the money they spend on food and books for the children of this country.

    I’m not married and don’t have children either, but I still recognize the importance of educating the younger people so they can compete with the rest of the world when the time comes. You obviously went to public schools, and now its time for you to give back and you think you have the right to be selfish about it? Teachers unions get about 400 dollars a year (depending) from teachers who are a part of their union. The unions are there to protect teachers, not care about the governments agenda. That’s the whole point of having a union, so that you’re collective voice is heard in Washington. You think our teachers don’t need protecting from idiot parents and students? It’s a ridiculous idea to think that unions are a bad thing for the average person in this country, or education for that matter. Are unions overpaid? Possibly, but there are options out there for teachers, and hurting the unions they are a part of hurts the core of our education in America.

    I agree with you about learning a trade. If you notice, I bashed both the system and the funding. We have a broken system that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up and we need to have the backing of our country to do it. Unfortunately, we would rather be able to flex a huge military muscle than solve the worlds problems. We, as a country, have the potential to unite the world without using military might, yet it seems that’s the only thing on which we truly focus.

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