Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Return Of The Crazies

The fallout from last week's elections is beginning to manifest. Yesterday I noted the Los Angeles Times op-ed piece by Mr. Biggs from AEI. Today the New York Times published an op-ed piece written by John Bolton (now also with AEI) and John Yoo (chief justifier of torture). I guess the victories by the GOP means all sorts of things will be emerging from their sub-rock basements.

The target Bolton and Yoo selected was the New Start treaty negotiated by the Obama administration which is awaiting Senate approval. That neocon sympathizers would select this topic is hardly surprising. After all, George W. Bush quite enjoyed poking the Russian bear with St. Ronald of Raygun's plan for a Star Wars Missile Defense System. The fact that the system has failed every test designed for it, including many which were geared so that the system had to pass, doesn't seem to bother these bozos. It's a grand idea conceived by a saint, so any attempt to scale it back is heresy and blasphemy and all sorts of other irreligious things.

Just as Saint Ronald and King George II believed, Messrs Bolton and Yoo continue to assert that the US is in charge of the world and its security. It is the only super power capable of this holy mission. In fact, it is the only super power, so there you have it. That this is no longer the case, if it ever was, doesn't seem to bother these two. Any tinkering with this vision from some alternative reality is an unholy act not to be tolerated.

New Start’s faults are legion. The low limits it would place on nuclear warheads ignore the enormous disparities between American and Russian global responsibilities and the importance of America’s “nuclear umbrella” in maintaining international security. The treaty’s constraints on launching platforms would impede Washington’s ability to use conventional warheads even in conflicts far from any Russian interest or responsibility. There are plenty of other deficiencies, from inadequate verification provisions to leaving Moscow’s extensive tactical nuclear weapons capabilities unlimited.

To save the world from Russki-imposed doom, both men urge the Senate to do its constitutional duty and over-ride the president. Apparently the Unitary Executive Theory only applies to Republican presidents. Republican-lite presidents are not worthy. They suggest that the treaty be returned to the president for a new deal, one that keeps intact all of the nuclear weaponry we have or will have real soon now if only it could get designed and built.

To prevent New Start from gravely impairing America’s nuclear capacity, the Senate must ignore the resolution of ratification and demand changes to the treaty itself. These should include deleting the preamble’s language linking nuclear arsenals to defense systems, and inserting new language distinguishing conventional strike capacities from nuclear launching systems or deleting limits on launchers entirely. Congress should pass a new law financing the testing and development of new warhead designs before approving New Start.

Unfortunately, even the lame duck Senate will not approve the treaty, the numbers really aren't there. The new Senate surely will not, and that's a shame. The treaty was a healthy step forward to further reducing the risks of bombing the planet to cinders. Just as shameful, however, is that while we won't have to listen much to Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell, who were simply ignorant and nuts, we will be exposed to those such as Andrew Biggs, John Bolton, and John Yoo, who are educated and insane.

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