I am David The Great Cornholio, Arms Control Expert
The President has many apologists and David Corn is one of them.
The pretext of a recent Corn article is the Obama hot-mic error, the one where the media picked up on the President’s apparent missile defense appeasement towards Russia.
However, the actual topic of the Corn article is the New START arms control treaty, those darn unpartisan GOP types, and arms control writ large (emphasis added):
Before the ink was dry on the [New START] accord, Senate Republicans—notably Jon Kyl and John McCain—started howling about the treaty. They claimed the treaty would hinder US missile defense efforts—even though arms control experts noted this was not the case.
That’s a nice appeal to authority David, but even the Russians—with their out loud voices—said U.S. missile defense initiatives would derail New START.
The [Russian] president [Medvedev] also said that Russia could suspend participation in the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and curb additional arms control discussions with Washington.
And how has New START made us more secure? Surprise! Keith Payne explains it hasn’t! (emphasis added)
The catch here, and the undoubted source of considerable amusement in Moscow, is the now-indisputable fact that only the United States must make actual reductions under New START.
As of February 5 , the day the treaty came into force, Russia already was below the ceilings mandated by the treaty both for deployed strategic nuclear launchers and for warheads. On the first day of the treaty, the number of Russian launchers stood at 521, well below New START’s ceiling of 700, and the number of accountable warheads stood at 1,537, below the new ceiling of 1,550. Rather than reducing its forces, Moscow would have to build them up to reach the new limits. In fact, according to the Russian defense minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, Russia will strive until the year 2028 to build up to New START’s limit on strategic launchers. In contrast, the United States must make reductions, including a 25 percent cut in deployed strategic launchers.
Back to Corn for his conclusion:
Obama skillfully navigated the Republican intransigence with New START. But the episode showed how hard it is for the White House to deal with the Senate GOPers on this critical front. And with Romney and other Republicans decrying Obama as a weak-kneed appeaser and apologizer—who kowtows to Russia—Obama is right to conclude that this is not a good moment to pursue the hard work of US-Russia arms control. There is indeed little political space available for this important endeavor, and the Republicans outraged about Obama’s hot-mic remark are responsible for that.
If Cleopatra was the Queen of denial, Corn must be her king.