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Where’s Condoleezza Rice on New START?

The former secretary of state and national security adviser can be criticized on many grounds, but if there’s one thing that defined Condoleezza Rice’s history and government service, it’s her expertise on U.S.-Russia relations. So it’s conspicuous that she hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, taken any position on the merits of the New START accord with the Russians to cut the two nations’ nuclear arsenals and limit the number of deployed systems to deliver a nuclear payload.

In his New Yorker column this week, Hendrik Hertzberg reminds us how the old Sovietologist guard of the Cold War-era Republican foreign policy establishment have embraced the treaty, even as the current crop of GOP senators express reservations:

[S]ix right-of-center foreign-policy sages were invited to comment on the Nuclear Posture Review and New Start. George Shultz, President Reagan’s Secretary of State, had praise for both. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary under George W. Bush; Fred C. Ikle, a Reagan defense official; and James Schlesinger, President Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, offered criticisms so mild they might have been mistaken for lukewarm support. Richard Burt, who negotiated the first Start treaty for Reagan, wrote, “The Obama Administration’s nuclear posture review, together with the new Start treaty with Russia, will strengthen American security and reinforce the nation’s global leadership.”

What, no Rice?

So I contacted Rice’s assistants at Stanford University and learned that the former secretary and national security adviser hasn’t issued any statement so far and isn’t granting interview requests at the moment. Far be it for me to speculate why that is, but it seems odd that she wouldn’t wish to express a perspective on a subject firmly within her wheelhouse.

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