JONATHAN CHAIT DECEMBER 20, 2010
Uber-hawk Richard Perle opposes the Start Treaty, which, he argues, is a pale imitation of the great Ronald Reagan's INF Treaty:
Ronald Reagan knew that in arms control, the United States should play to win. To do that, it had to be prepared to reject an inadequate deal until a useful one could be achieved. The contrast between his negotiating approach and the current administration’s approach to New START could not be more striking.
Ratified in the spring of 1988, the INF Treaty was a watershed: the first accord to actually reduce nuclear arms. It eliminated all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, together with their infrastructure.
INF negotiations dealt with the most important issue in the U.S.-Soviet strategic relationship from the late 1970s into the mid-1980s: Soviet deployment of SS20 missiles aimed at NATO forces in Europe. These Soviet deployments led NATO to prepare to deploy Pershing and ground-launched cruise missiles. The resulting treaty zeroed out this threat, entirely eliminating a whole class of nuclear missiles.
But what did Perle think of Reagan's treaty at the time? Not too much:
The INF treaty under consideration in the Senate is flawed enough to require renegotiation with the Soviets despite concerns that such a move could kill the pact, Richard Perle and other former government arms control experts said today.
Perle, former assistant secretary of defense and President Reagan's one-time chief arms control expert, and four other members of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative-leaning "think tank," released a detailed study of problems they see with the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty.
They said the treaty does not do many of the key things the Administration says it does, including eliminating production of all stages of Soviet SS-20 missiles and doing away with their launchers.
The Soviets have said they will use the launchers for civilian purposes after rendering them incapable of carrying SS-20s as required by the treaty.
"I'm just a little bit suspicious by nature" of that pledge, said Perle, who will testify on the treaty before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday.
I'm constantly amazed that people who refer back to a previous event don't bother to look up what they wrote about it at the time.