Jonathan Chait

Neocon Endorses START Treaty

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Robert Kagan, the sanest of the neocons, argues that conservative attacks on the START treaty are unpersuasive:

The proposed cuts in nuclear arsenals are modest. The START I agreement cut deployed strategic nuclear weapons on both sides roughly 50 percent, from between 10,000 and 12,000 down to 6,000. The never-ratified (but generally abided-by) START II Treaty cut forces by another 50 percent, down to between 3,000 and 3,500. The 2002 Moscow Treaty made further deep cuts, bringing each side down to between 1,700 and 2,200. And New START? It would bring the number on both sides down to 1,550...

The three previous arms control treaties, all negotiated by Republican presidents, and two of which were ratified with full Republican Party support, cut deployed nuclear weapons from near 12,000 down to around 2,000 -- about 80 percent. If anyone deserves credit, or blame, for moving the United States in the direction of zero, the two Bushes deserve a lot more than President Obama.

If you want an example of the anti-treaty demagoguery Kagan is (gently) rebutting, check out Mitt Romney.

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