Op-Ed Spotlight: Kerry Cuffs Romney Over New-START

You've got to love Massachusetts

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On Monday, former Massachusetts governor and contender for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had an op-ed in The Washington Post. He argued against the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, suggesting it would be "Obama's worst foreign policy mistake." Today, Massachusetts senator and former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing for it, and chiding Romney for "scoring cheap political points." You have to love that Massachusetts family fighting.


Even in these polarized times, anyone seeking the presidency should know that the security of the United States is too important to be treated as fodder for political posturing ... Serious people may differ over elements of the agreement, but after 10 hearings we have produced a public record that makes the case for ratification and rejects the narrow, uninformed political objections advanced by Romney.


Let's examine the key objections: Romney says that New START impedes our ability to build missile defenses against attack from rogue countries. This is a myth. The treaty will have no impact on our ability to build ballistic missile defenses against Iran, North Korea or other threats from other regions. ... Romney warns that Russia could use language in the treaty's preamble as a pretext for withdrawal if the United States builds up its missile defense. In a word, baloney. The preamble is not legally binding. ... Similarly, Romney is flat wrong in claiming that the Bilateral Consultative Commission is broadly empowered to amend the treaty with regard to missile defense ... Another red herring is the notion that the treaty allows Russia to escape limits on the number of strategic nuclear warheads. The same limits apply to the United States and Russia.


New START will not constrain our ability to defend ourselves. On the contrary, it will improve our national security by reducing the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia, and by improving relations with our old adversary. ... Many of the strongest voices for ratification are Republican.


I have nothing against Massachusetts politicians running for president. But the world's most important elected office carries responsibilities, including the duty to check your facts even if you're in a footrace to the right against Sarah Palin. More than that, you need to understand that when it comes to nuclear danger, the nation's security is more important than scoring cheap political points.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.