Op-Ed Spotlight: Mitt Romney Urges Rejecting New-START

The treaty could become "Obama's worst foreign policy mistake"

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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is attacking the president's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in The Washington Post. The so-called New-START could be Obama's "worst foreign policy mistake," he writes, arguing that it would be a mistake to ratify it. Obama, he says, "acceded to Russia's No. 1 foreign policy objective, the abandonment of our Europe-based missile defense program, and obtained nothing whatsoever in return." Here's his fuller explanation for why the Senate ought to reject the treaty.


[T]he president's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia could be [Obama's] worst foreign policy mistake yet. The treaty as submitted to the Senate should not be ratified.

New-START impedes missile defense, our protection from nuclear-proliferating rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Its preamble links strategic defense with strategic arsenal. It explicitly forbids the United States from converting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos into missile defense sites. And Russia has expressly reserved the right to walk away from the treaty if it believes that the United States has significantly increased its missile defense capability.


The treaty ... gives far more to the Russians than to the United States. As drafted, it lets Russia escape the limit on its number of strategic nuclear warheads. Loopholes and lapses--presumably carefully crafted by Moscow--provide a path to entirely avoid the advertised warhead-reduction targets. For example, rail-based ICBMs and launchers are not mentioned. ... These omissions would be consistent with Russia's plans for a new heavy bomber and reports of growing interest in rail-mobile ICBMs. ...

New-START gives Russia a massive nuclear weapon advantage over the United States. The treaty ignores tactical nuclear weapons, where Russia outnumbers us by as much as 10 to 1.


By all indications, the Obama administration has been badly out-negotiated. Perhaps the president's eagerness for global disarmament led his team to accede to Russia's demands, or perhaps it led to a document that was less than carefully drafted.

Whatever the reason for the treaty's failings, it must not be ratified: The security of the United States is at stake.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.