Saturday, 20 November 2010

The Week's Worst: Republicans block START treaty...

I'm having a little trouble keeping up with the unrelenting awfulness of Right Wing activity as, emboldened by their post-midterm strength they begin a full court press with their newly emboldened "everything that is bad for the President is good for us strategy." Obviously, things that are good for the President are quite often the things that are best for the country - economic recovery being one example. Or diplomatic successes overseas. Or improvements in Americans' health and life expectancy.

All of these things must now be halted in their tracks, argue the new Republicn insurgency, for they aid the President and therefore are bad for Republicans and thus, counter-intuitively, ultimately bad for the country. After all, would you really want to have a thriving  nation when you could have a Republican majority instead? Well, YOU AND I would, of course. But they wouldn't.

In any case, I have decided to start a little weekly feature just to try and get my head around one terrible Republican action per week. Each week I'll write a Week's Worst post highlighting the thing Republicans have done that seems most obviously worst for the country.

There was a lot to choose from this week, but in my mind a clear winner emerged:

Republican Senator John Kyl, who had been the point man with the White House appointed by Republicans to negotiate ratification of the new START treaty, after months of negotiation, and after the White House believed that they had secured a mutual agreement on all the key points, that he would not support ratification in the upcoming "lame duck" session of the Senate. He offered no rationale for this position.

The treaty has been described by many as President Obama's key foreing policy priority for this year - and that's accurate. But it would also be accurate to describe it as America's key foreign policy priority. Certainly, Republican Senator sees it as such - he recently begged his colleagues to come to their senses and vote for the treaty:

"Please do your duty for your country," Lugar said in a message to his colleagues. "We do not have verification of the Russian nuclear posture right now. We're not going to have it until we sign the START treaty. We're not going to be able to get rid of further missiles and warheads aimed at us.

"I state it candidly to my colleagues, one of those warheads ... could demolish my city of Indianapolis -- obliterate it! Now Americans may have forgotten that. I've not forgotten it and I think that most people who are concentrating on the START treaty want to move ahead to move down the ladder of the number of weapons aimed at us."

That's exactly right. After the previous START treaty expired in December last year, American inspectors have not been able to access Russian nuclear facilities to ensure that the weapons are secured and that they are complying with their commitment to reduce their arsenal.

The Russians think we have gone insane - they see the treaty as transparently in the US national interest, and they are gobsmacked that it might not pass. Frankly, so am I.

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