The debate is in full swing. Right wing groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the John Birch Society have come out in strident opposition to the New START nuclear reductions treaty signed by the United States and Russia.
The Birch Society has consistently opposed all nuclear arms treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union and its successor state, Russia. These treaties, according to that group, date back to 1961 when John F. Kennedy was President and continued through the Nixon, Reagan and Bush I and II administrations.
Former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, a hawk of hawks, agrees with the Birch Society on one major point: the latest nuclear reduction agreement follows in a long line of nuclear arms treaties.
However, Schlesinger endorses New START, pointing out that the agreement is consistent with past nuclear arms reductions agreements.
Schlesinger is joined in this endorsement by other such GOP national security luminaries as Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Baker, Brent Scowcroft and Stephen Hadley. America’s entire military leadership also supports the treaty.
The facts cannot be ignored; New START is important to the national security of the United States, but the far right has seized this opportunity to wage yet another partisan battle based on politics rather than facts.
Governor Mitt Romney has joined in opposition to the New START agreement. In a July 6 Washington Post OpEd, the once and future presidential candidate called the latest arms agreement President Obama’s worst foreign policy mistake.
The OpEd was rife with inaccuracies, and almost certainly designed to boost his position among the far right that will go far to determine the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.