So How’s Obama Going to Find the Senate GOP Votes for the Russia-Nuke Treaty
When last we checked in on New START, the text of the nuclear deal with the Russians — which has not been released — didn’t impact missile defense, according to senior administration officials, but leading GOP senators still opposed it. That’s not a good sign for a deal that requires at least eight GOP votes in the Senate, as the Republican caucus gambles that it ought to oppose the administration’s agenda wholesale.
Later this morning, I’ll be covering former United Nations ambassador John Bolton as he indicts the administration for allegedly compromising American sovereignty at the Heritage Foundation. Heritage right now is leading its website with a pre-indictment, criticizing New START for pursuing what it calls the “pipe dream” of nuclear disarmament. (That pipe dream was first made a part of U.S. foreign policy by conservative patron saint Ronald Reagan.) The big concern Heritage presents is that the deal won’t be adequately verifiable. But the administration managed to secure 18 annual on-site inspection visits to Russian missile sites and storage facilities in the treaty, while previous accords relied on indirect indications of nuclear and missile activity.
Perhaps the release of the treaty language and the subsequent administration testimony will be able to change some Republican minds. But all the early indicators and pressures on the Republicans point to them denying Obama his treaty victory.