Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) clashed head on with Obama administration officials in the first hearing over New START, a proposed nuclear arms control treaty that the White House has submitted to the Senate for ratification. DeMint hammered home the point that the treaty would limit how future presidents could pursue missile defenses.
Secretary Gates brushed off the concerns as did the Committee Chair John Kerry dismissing the notion that the White House has come up with anything but the perfect missile defense plan. But others argue the White House plan is inadequate, furthermore in the future conditions and threats may change—why should the United States have to go back to Russia to get permission to defend itself. Senator Kerry has no problem seeking a permission slip from the Russians. As The New York Times reported, Senator DeMint thinks it is a terrible idea: “With his response, Senator Kerry proved why Americans have a hard time fully trusting the left to put American interests first in foreign affairs.”
In fact, the administration knows the proposed treaty limits future missile defense program. That’s it why it rushed to rewrite the White House fact sheet which first claimed the treaty put no limits on missile defense. The rewrite suggests that treaty won’t limit Obama’s plans. Even that statement is cold comfort. Obama’s plan does not look like it will be adequate to deal with an Iranian threat, let alone the likes of the Russian nuclear force. Under the government’s own estimate Iran could have a long-range missile, three years before it gets a missile defense umbrella up and running in Europe.