Jon Kyl: Senate Should Not Rubber Stamp START

Hearings to ratify the nuclear arms treaty with Russia known as New Start are now underway in the Senate. To win the 67 votes needed to ratify it, President Obama is going to have to do more than defend the provisions of this one document.

New Start, signed by the president in April, is more than a stand-alone treaty: It is an important element of Mr. Obama’s overall plan for maintaining a credible U.S. nuclear capability. If the Obama administration was clearly articulating that our nuclear posture is going to be strong and properly resourced, most senators will likely view the treaty as relatively benign. But right now many are wary of ratifying it because the Obama administration is sending mixed signals on this serious issue.

The administration’s recently published Nuclear Posture Review took some sensible positions. It reiterated the continuing importance of nuclear deterrence and of the protection the U.S. nuclear arsenal extends to our foreign friends. And it stressed that the U.S. should preserve the “triad” of land-based, sea-based and bomber-delivered nuclear weapons.

The problem is that Mr. Obama embraces ideas that contradict his own declared goals of nuclear deterrence, nonproliferation and modernization. He says all of his nuclear policies are rooted in his vision of a world with zero nuclear weapons, a world he claims would be more stable and less likely to suffer a nuclear war. But this position is not grounded in reality, and the policies that flow from it are dangerous and impractical.

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