The White House's Republican opponents threatened to block any effort to ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in the year-end "lame duck" session, drawing a warning from US Vice President Joe Biden.Here is an excerpt from a Politico article by Meredith Shiner:
"Failure to pass the New START Treaty this year would endanger our national security," said Mr Biden, who stressed "the time to act is now and we will continue to seek its approval by the Senate before the end of the year."
The agreement "is a fundamental part of our relationship with Russia, which has been critical to our ability to supply our troops in Afghanistan and to impose and enforce strong sanctions on the Iranian government," he said.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia will build up its nuclear arsenal if the United States reflects a "very dumb nature" and fails to ratify the START treaty signed by the two nations this year.Now put both of these excerpts together and you can see where this article is heading - with Republican opposition to the new START treaty, they are pretty much creating a new arms race, and Russia won't be the only nation increasing ballistic stockpiles.
In an interview with CNN's Larry King airing Wednesday evening, Putin warned that without ratification of the bilateral pact that President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed last spring, Russia would have to arm itself against new threats.
The treaty to cut each country's deployed nuclear warheads to approximately 1,500 is currently stalled in the Senate, where Democratic leaders are trying to get the 67 votes required to approve it before the end of the month.
"That's not our choice. We don't want that to happen. But this is not a threat on our part," Putin said of building up Russia's nuclear forces. "We've been simply saying that this is what all of us expects to happen if we don't agree on a joint effort there.
"We have been told that you'll do it in order to secure you against the, let's say, Iranian nuclear threat," Putin added about "new threats" posed by American plans for a European-based weapons program to defend against the Middle Eastern nation. "But such a threat, as of now, doesn't exist."
Putin touched upon an interesting dilemma - with a new arms race, nations like Iran would feel threatened positioned in between two super powers with increasing amounts of weapons, and in response, they would undoubtedly attmept to increase their stockpiles. This would of course places unnecessary stress on the entire region, and as we know from the newest Wikileaks release, many Middle Eastern countries are wary of a nuclear Iran.
In essence, Republican obstruction is setting up a powder keg in the Middle East...