Peter Brookes presents an op-ed in the Boston Herald demonstrating this administration’s repeated failure to live up to its promise of transparency and open government. The administration’s reticence to give Senators the negotiating record for the new START treaty is yet another flagrant example. The reasons provided in the START hearings not to release the negotiating record are either false, or simply fly in the face of reason.
The first, that negotiating records have not been released to the Senate in the past, is patently false given that they have for both the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The second, that releasing such documents to the Senate would compromise the position of future negotiators, is appalling. There is no call for full, public disclosure, but rather release of the information to the Senate, who is responsible for fully vetting any treaty signed between the United States and a foreign nation. By not releasing the record, this administration is making it seem more and more likely that there is something in there that they don’t want the Senate to see.
At stake here is nothing less than our national security. While this administration is seeking to reset US-Russian relations, the only thing that is being reset is a Cold War environment. The New START Treaty codifies strategic parity, threatens our ability to build upon our missile defense system, and keeps the mentality of Mutually Assured Destruction alive and well. Combine this with the revelation that ten people have been arrested for allegedly being undercover Russian spies and you have an environment bearing striking similarities to pre-1989 US-Russian relations. Fortunately, with the constitutional role afforded to the Senate, there is still hope for preventing this major step backwards. All this administration has to do is provide the full range of materials necessary to thoroughly vet this treaty and its implications for U.S. security policy.
Ricky Trotman is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm