The Magazine

Non-STARTer

Another Obama diplomatic failure?

Dec 7, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 12 • By FRED BARNES
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Kyl also worries that the administration might back away from its promise to modernize America's decaying nuclear force, a $10 billion to $15 billion project. "If they don't submit a robust modernization, as is required by law, with a good first year [in terms of spending]," Kyl will oppose a new START treaty. "They know that."

And if Obama is required to concede too much, he still has the Reagan option. He could do what one arms control expert calls "pulling a Reykjavik." In 1986, President Reagan halted talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev rather than settle for a deal requiring the abandonment of missile defense.

For Obama, pulling out of arms talks and declaring he won't agree to a bad deal would be entirely out of character. Americans would applaud. But the Nobel Committee would feel betrayed, and Obama isn't likely to let that happen.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.