Varun Sivaram

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A Tale of Two Treaties

by Michael Levi
December 7, 2010

I have an op-ed in Wednesday’s USA Today on the New START nuclear arms control agreement. I should note that I’m more than a bit uneasy with the title they’ve given it (“Treaty Hypocrisy: The GOP and New START”); I’d originally called it “A Tale of Two Treaties”, and don’t mean for it to be partisan or political, but rather to illustrate an important lesson. In any case, here’s how it starts:

“A U.S. president goes overseas and signs a controversial nuclear agreement. Now, he must get the deal approved by the Senate. While the attitude of his political opponents ranges from skeptical to hostile, these detractors also know that killing the deal would undercut U.S. influence in the world.

“This is the dilemma that many Republicans face as they consider the New START treaty, an arms control agreement between the U.S. and Russia that President Obama signed this year. But it also is the dilemma Democrats faced four years ago with the far more controversial U.S.-India nuclear deal, which granted India access to nuclear technology despite its refusal to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Back then, Democrats held their noses and voted with the president, a Republican. Those Republicans who are threatening to kill the New START agreement should do the same now.”

I go on to describe the two agreements – one quite radical and the other much more traditional (you can guess which I think is which) – and why the path taken in 2006 is also the one that should be taken now. You can read the whole thing here.

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