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Surprise! Russia Remains Unsatisified with BMD Cuts

Moscow says START follow-on should be tied to missile defense.

4:31 PM, Feb 9, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
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Here's a headline that begs for a "reset" joke:

Moscow claims missile shield is aimed at Russia.

Russia's top general said on Tuesday that U.S. missile defense plans were directed against his country, and differences over the issue were holding up an arms treaty with Washington, Russian news agencies reported.

The renewed blast from Moscow raised questions about the chances of an early agreement on a successor to a Cold War-era nuclear arms reduction treaty that expired in December.

Obama asked for this. By unilaterally cutting missile defense ahead of START follow-on negotiations, he demonstrated to Moscow that he'd degrade U.S. national security and snub allies in order to pass treaties. Now Russia smells blood, and it is threatening Obama's prized nuclear-reduction treaty in order to squeeze (us) for more defense cuts.

These disastrous missteps on Obama's part remind me of a relevant history lesson, courtesy of Owen Graham at the Heritage Foundation, on how effective nuclear reduction treaties can actually work:

There is yet another key distinction between President Reagan’s approach to arms control and Obama’s. Reagan was clearly willing to walk away from an arms control deal at the summit with Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland in the face of Soviet demands to scrap SDI. He was right to do so. He still achieved the 1987 intermediate-range nuclear force (INF) agreement he was seeking and put in place arrangements for the eventual conclusion of the START treaty and the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Ronald Reagan’s vision compelled him to walk away from the talks at Reykjavik on the grounds that Moscow’s proposals would make the U.S. more vulnerable. Likewise, the U.S. Senate must ensure that the new treaty is also consistent with Reagan’s principles or refuse to ratify it.

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