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Why are the Republicans stopping START?
The GOP is resisting approval of Obama's nuclear treaty with Russia. Do they have good reason?
 
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the nuclear weapons treaty in April.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the nuclear weapons treaty in April.
CC BY: The White House

Republican lawmakers are blocking a push by the Obama administration to get a major nuclear arms treaty ratified this year. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev back in April. The deal, which needs to be aproved by the Senate, would cut both countries' nuclear stockpile by about 30 percent. But Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the GOP point man on the issue, said he does not want to schedule a vote during the lame-duck session of Congress because there's not enough time to overcome complex and unresolved issues. What's behind the delay? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about the START delay)

Not even Kyl knows what it's about: The "dimwitted" Senator Kyl couldn't even explain why he doesn't like START, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. And yet, Republicans prefer to listen to "the confused misjudgements of a buffoon from Arizona" "to the entirety of America's military, diplomatic, and intelligence leadership." Republicans are putting partisan hatred above the country's interests, and they don't even have the intellectual capacity to explain why.
"The fallout of Kyl's betrayal"

It's about stopping Obama: The GOP's stated concerns are so absurd that the only explanation is their limitless desire to deny President Obama any legislative success," says The New York Times in an editorial. A failure to ratify this treaty would damage U.S. credibility overseas and undermine America's ability to pressure Iran on its illicit nuclear program. Surely "the nation's security interests must trump political maneuvering."
"The party of national security"

It's about taking the time to get it right: What's the big rush here? We aren't at risk of attack from Russia, and there are no pressing needs for immediate treaty ratification, says The Washington Times. Linking the treaty to Iranian nuclear aspirations or the spread of WMDs more generally are just desperation ploys. The Republicans realize that START could "significantly restrict U.S. missile-defense programs." For the sake of national security, we should rethink this treaty.
"Why START now?"

It's all about the money: "Senator Kyl has been demanding big bucks for nuclear weapons programs," says Nickolas Roth at All Things Nuclear, "and the demands keep coming." Obama has already suggested spending an extra $4.1 billion on nuclear weapons over the next 5 years. Kyl is holding out in case "more money could be on the way." The issue now is "how much more the administration is prepared to spend" to get this treaty ratified.
"More money to come?"

 

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