July 07, 2010

National Security Experts Disagree With Mitt Romney Ratification Of The New START Treaty Will Strengthen America’s Security

Washington, D.C.--- By opposing ratification of the New START Treaty in an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post, Mitt Romney puts himself at odds with the vast majority of Republican and Democrat foreign policy and national security experts who have stated unequivocally that the New START Treaty will enhance America’s security.  Mitt Romney must know something about nuclear nonproliferation and arms control that START supporters Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, James Baker and James Schlesinger do not.  With all the facts on one side and cheap political calculation on the other, Republicans will have to decide: are they the party of Reagan or the party of Romney?  By repeating proven myths and making no effort to offer an alternative or even grapple with the consequences of rejecting START, once again Romney proves that he would rather score political points than support a policy that will secure a better future for the American people.  

According to Arms Control Experts:

Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense:

“I first began working on strategic arms control with the Russians in 1970, 40 years ago, a U.S. effort that led to the first strategic arms limitation agreement with Moscow two years later. The key question then and in the decades since has always been the same: Is the United States better off with a strategic arms agreement with the Russians or without it? The answer for successive presidents of both parties has always been with an agreement. The U.S. Senate has always agreed, approving each treaty by lopsided bipartisan margins. The same answer holds true for New START. The U.S. is better off with this treaty than without it, and I am confident that it is the right agreement for today and for the future. It increases stability and predictability, allows us to sustain a strong nuclear triad, and preserves our flexibility to deploy the nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities needed for effective deterrence and defense. In light of all these factors, I urge the Senate to give its advice and consent to ratification of the new treaty.”

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

“The chiefs and I believe a New START treaty achieves important and necessary balance between three critical aims. It allows us to retain a strong and flexible American nuclear deterrent. It helps strengthen openness and transparency in our relationship with Russia. It also demonstrates our national commitment to reducing the worldwide risk of nuclear incidents resulting from the continuing proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

Henry Kissinger, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State to Presidents Nixon and Ford:

“Concerns have been raised with respect to missile defense and with respect to [nuclear] modernization. I agree with the Chairman. I do not believe this treaty is an obstacle to a missile defense program or modernization. Those are decisions that the United States can and should take as part of its own strategic design.” 

“In deciding on ratification, the concerns need to be measured against the consequences of non-ratification, particularly interrupting a [bilateral arms control] process that has been going on for decades, the relationship to the NPT, and to the attempt to achieve a strategic coherence. And so, for all these reasons, I recommend ratification of this treaty….”

Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush:

“I believe this treaty will achieve the purposes for which it's intended, and I support its ratification …I think the principal result of non-ratification would be to throw the whole nuclear negotiating situation into a state of chaos.”

“I would say that on both sides, [the discussion about missile defense] is an issue of domestic politics. And the treaty is amply clear. It does not restrict us.”

James Baker, Secretary of State to President George H.W. Bush:

“Although I am not an expert on the nuances of the proposed new treaty, Mr. Chairman, it appears to take our country in a direction that can enhance our national security, while at the same time reducing the number of nuclear warheads on the planet. It can also improve Washington's relationship with Moscow regarding nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles—a relationship that is going to be vital if the two countries are going to cooperate in order to stem nuclear proliferation in countries such as Iran and North Korea.”

“There is, in fact, no restriction on the United States of America's ability to move forward on missile defense in whatever way it wants, except one. That is, we cannot use our current platforms, offensive weapons platforms, for missile defense interceptors. That's the only restriction.”

James Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense to Presidents Nixon and Ford:

“I think that the reality is that there is nothing in the treaty [regarding missile defense] that is problematic.”

“[F]or the United States at this juncture to fail to ratify the treaty in the due course of the Senate's deliberation would have a detrimental effect on our ability to influence others with regard to particularly the nonproliferation issue.”

Still Others Disagree With Romney:

In a statement released by the Partnership for a Secure America, thirty former high-ranking national security leaders, including a bipartisan group of ten former senators, four secretaries of state, four secretaries of defense, three national security advisors, as well as the chair and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission, have all voiced their support for ratification of the New START Treaty.  

To view the Partnership for a Secure America statement, visit: http://psaonline.org/downloads/START.pdf

Following is the list of leaders who signed the statement in support of the New START Treaty:

Madeleine Albright  Secretary of State 1997-2001
Howard Baker
  US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Samuel Berger
  National Security Advisor 1997-2001
Linton Brooks
  Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, 2002-07
Harold Brown
  Secretary of Defense 1977-81
Frank Carlucci
  Secretary of Defense 1987-89
Warren Christopher
  Secretary of State 1993-97
William Cohen
  Secretary of Defense 1997-2001
John C. Danforth
  US Senator (R-MO) 1977-95
Kenneth M. Duberstein
  White House Chief of Staff 1988-89
Chuck Hagel
  US Senator (R-NE) 1997-2009
Lee Hamilton
  US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99; Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Gary Hart 
US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita E. Hauser
  Chair, International Peace Institute
Carla Hills
  US Trade Representative 1989-93
Nancy Kassebaum-Baker
  US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean
  Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90; 9/11 Commission Chair
Richard Leone
  President, The Century Foundation
Donald McHenry
  US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81
Sam Nunn
  US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry
  Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering
  Under Secretary of State 1997-2000
Colin L. Powell
  Secretary of State 2001- 05
Warren Rudman
  US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92; Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board
Alan Simpson
  US Senator (R-WY) 1979-97
George Shultz
  Secretary of State 1982-89
Theodore Sorensen
  White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John Whitehead
  Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Timothy E. Wirth
  US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93
Frank Wisner
  Under Secretary of State 1992-93

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