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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Passing the START Treaty a Good Start ?

Yes, asserts Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, in a recent WASHINGTON POST piece.

Some excerpts :

The Senate's passage of the resolution of ratification of the New START treaty should be greeted as good news by sensible people interested in a sound American foreign and defense policy. The administration's willingness to accommodate Republican concerns on missile defense and modernization of the aging nuclear force has significantly strengthened the original modest agreement. In exchange for Republican acceptance of relatively small cuts in nuclear weapons, President Obama is now on record supporting missile defense in a way that he had not been before and has committed more than $80 billion to modernizing the nuclear arsenal. Republicans ought to be delighted with the deal.

And while bipartisanship is not always a virtue, in this case it has positive ramifications in the real world. Other nations need to know, at a moment when there are doubts, that the American political system can pull itself together and make a decision.

The internationalist coalition that passed this treaty will be critical in advancing U.S. interests over the coming years: in dealing with Iran; China; the continuing war in Afghanistan; the stabilization of Iraq; the ratification of free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama; and the maintenance of adequate defense and foreign affairs budgets. With the right presidential leadership, this muscular internationalism ought to, as it has in the past, provide the center of gravity for American foreign policy.

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