In hardball negotiations over the START nuclear arms treaty last year, Senate Republicans wrested a commitment from the White House to redouble work to overhaul the nation’s nuclear infrastructure.
Tales from the Trail
Democrats scored some noteworthy wins today. They pushed the nuclear arms treaty with Russia past a Republican hurdle. They adopted Internet rules that Republicans and some big media companies called unwarranted, excessive and maybe even illegal.
So far, the U.S. Senate has spent six days debating New START — the strategic nuclear arms limitation treaty with Russia. Not so long, you say? Democrats are rushing it through? Well consider this, Congress has already spent longer on this agreement than it did on START I almost two decades ago — and the original is a much more complex treaty.
It must be more than a little frustrating to win the Nobel Peace Prize for your best intentions — ridding the world of nuclear weapons – and then struggle to even get the START Treaty ratified this year. Not surprising, then, that President Barack Obama told his deputy to work “day and night” to get this thing through.
Not a great day for US-Russia relations. The United States won the extradition of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout from Thailand against Moscow’s vehement objections. The Russian government said the extradition of the man known as the “Merchant of Death” was not only illegal but also the result of “unprecedented political pressure from the United States.” Earlier this month we had news that a key Russian spymaster and double agent had defected to the United States after unmasking the spy ring here. And then to top it all off, Republicans signaled they would block ratification of the START Treaty this year. It looks like more of a meltdown than a reset in US-Russia relations.
Where’s the money?
A key senator says the Obama administration needs to commit to more funding for modernizing the U.S. nuclear weapons complex if it is to convince him that the new START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia is a good idea.