Russian Committee May Withdraw START Support
What do America’s mid-term elections have to do with Russia’s cooperation on START? From Defense News:
“A Russian parliamentary committee may withdraw its recommendation to ratify a new nuclear disarmament treaty with the U.S. after the results of the mid-term polls, an official said Nov. 3. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in April, but the accord has yet to be ratified by the Russian lower house, the State Duma, or the U.S. Senate.
“‘I think that today we are going to cancel our recommendation to ratify the agreement,’ said the chairman of the Russian Duma’s foreign affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev. ‘If the ‘lame duck’ senators from the old make-up cannot do this in the next weeks then the chances of ratification in the new Senate will be radically lower than they were until now,’ he told the Interfax news agency.”
Kosachev is probably correct. Among other things, Republican senators are concerned about the linkage in the treaty between offensive and defensive missile strategy. They’re also concerned about a rumored secret missile defense agreement between the U.S. and Russia. Republican senators have requested START negotiating records, and the Obama administration rebuffed them. They sent a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton requesting documents related to the secret agreement, and the State Department has denied such an agreement took place.
The Senate Foreign Relations approved the treaty last month, and the full Senate will deliberate. Republicans have regained control of the House and increased their representation in the Senate. Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican who supports the new START, said he doubts the treaty will be ratified this year.