The one living Secretary of State not to have come out publicly in favor of the New START treaty with Russia just broke her silence. Condolezza Rice in an op-ed today in the Wall Street Journal urged that the Senate ratify the New START treaty, writing that:
New Start deserves bipartisan support, whether in the lame-duck session or next year.
Rice’s claimed “caveats” in the piece – no doubt a shout out to some of her far right friends – have already been taken care. She insists that the US should make clear to Russia that the treaty does not impact missile defense. Done and done. Not only has the the U.S. military and the Administration made this clear again, and again, and again. But just to make totally sure the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made this clear in a resolution that it approved when it voted on the treaty.
With Rice’s public pronouncement, virtually every living senior foreign policy figure has come out in support of the treaty including: Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, James Schlessinger, James Baker, Stephen Hadley, Colin Powell, the entire top brass of the US military, seven former heads of STRATCOM – the military command in charge of the nuclear arsenal – the heads of the US nuclear labs, and a slew of retired military officials.
What senior officials are opposed? The highest ranking foreign policy official that has come out in opposition is John Bolton – a guy so extreme that a Republican controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee refused to confirm him to be UN Ambassador. After him there is just a scattering of some extreme lower rung former administration officials, such as Frank Gaffney, none of whom is higher than Assistant Secretary level.
While it now looks like START has more than enough Republican support to be ratified, the fact that a significant number of Republicans in the US Senate are willing to oppose the treaty — when only a handful of Republican foreign policy experts are –demonstrates how far to the extreme right the Republican politicians have moved. Maybe its because they just don’t trust those pesky “Soviets.”