Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bush wants to end program to dismantle Soviet nukes

The Bush administration hates treaties, even when they're profoundly in our national security interests. The latest target is the 1991 START treaty, and they hope to replace a rigorous verification regime with an informal handshake.
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, co-creator of the program that’s helped Russia dismantle and secure large portions of its Soviet-era nuclear forces, strongly urged the Bush administration on Thursday to reconsider plans to end the treaty based system that allows Moscow and Washington to monitor each other’s nuclear arsenals.

“The predictability and confidence provided by treaty verification reduces the chances of misinterpretation, miscalculation and error.” He said that Russian-American relations were “complicated enough without introducing more elements of uncertainty into the nuclear relationship.”

Describing the 16 year old system as "outdated" and chafing under restrictions preventing him from designing bunker buster nuclear weapons, George Bush wants to replace on-site verification with increased intelligence operations. (The type that failed spectacularly in the lead up to the Iraq war.)

Preferring to focus on enemies who don't have nuclear missile capabilities, like Iran and al Qaeda, he's forgotten that the only true existential threat to America comes from Moscow.

The intelligence community isn't happy with the idea:

Alarmed by the stress on the limited fleet of U.S. spy satellites, however, U.S. intelligence agencies oppose weakening the on-site inspections and other means that give U.S. officials a window into the only nuclear arsenal capable of destroying the United States.

Most disturbingly, George Bush literally believes that Russia no longer poses a threat to the United States. He thinks "the Cold War is over" and doesn't understand why the Russians oppose a missile defense system in Poland.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has rolled back democratic reforms, arrested political rivals, assassinated journalists and compares the U.S. to Nazi Germany. He sees us at his doorstep and very much believes we're a threat.

No comments: