Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Walrus, The Walrus's Mustache, And The Carpenter

John Bolton, John Bolton's mustache, and John Yoo think enough American nukes to fry every microbe on Earth hundreds of times over isn't enough, and it's one chunk of government spending we can't afford to cut.  The three of them take to the NY Times to explain to the hippies about force multiplication or deterrent gamesmanship theory or...something.  Anyway, the point is that the Declaration of Independence was all about smaller government that the Founding Fathers would want, and also to nuke Russia and stuff.  WOLVEREEEEENS!

THE sweeping Democratic midterm losses last week raise serious questions for President Obama and a lame-duck Congress. Voters want government brought closer to the vision the framers outlined in the Constitution, and the first test could be the fate of the flawed New Start arms control treaty, which was signed by President Obama and President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia last spring but awaits ratification. The Senate should heed the will of the voters and either reject the treaty or amend it so that it doesn’t weaken our national defense.

The treaty’s supporters are likely to try to rush it through the Senate before Congress adjourns. They worry that since the Republicans have gained six seats, New Start will fail to get the required two-thirds majority when the new Senate convenes in January.

Senators should be in no hurry. The Obama administration’s main strategy in this two-minute drill is likely to emphasize a “resolution of ratification” that the Foreign Relations Committee approved along with the treaty in September. But that resolution, which supposedly addresses concerns about missile defense and modernization of the nuclear arsenal, is a Trojan horse. Any senators who fall for this ploy will not only imperil our safety, they will also undermine the Senate’s formidable powers in the treaty-making process

Yeah, the same two guys (and an animate collection of facial hair) that said the plenary power of the Presidency trumped all during a time of war and argued that the President had by definition of the office the power to conduct unrestricted war are now saying that the Senate is the most important government body when it comes to foreign policy.

I'll let that sink in for a minute.  I was unaware that Bolton's mustache could type, let alone ghost write columns either...but there you are.

Senators cannot take these warranties seriously — they are not a part of the text of the treaty itself. As Eugene Rostow, a former under secretary of state, put it, such reservations and understandings have “the same legal effect as a letter from my mother.” They are mere policy statements that attempt to influence future treaty interpretation. They do not have the force of law; they do not bind the president or future Congresses. The Constitution’s supremacy clause makes the treaty’s text the “law of the land.”

Unlike acts of Congress, treaties reorient the balance of power toward the president. His understandings and interpretations of treaties typically have (and should) predominate, as President Ronald Reagan demonstrated in the 1980s debate over the meaning of the antiballistic missile treaty. The president can, after all, completely withdraw from a treaty on his own: President George W. Bush terminated the antiballistic missile treaty in 2002 and President Jimmy Carter ended the Taiwan mutual defense treaty in 1980, both without Senate consent or judicial complaint.

To prevent New Start from gravely impairing America’s nuclear capacity, the Senate must ignore the resolution of ratification and demand changes to the treaty itself. These should include deleting the preamble’s language linking nuclear arsenals to defense systems, and inserting new language distinguishing conventional strike capacities from nuclear launching systems or deleting limits on launchers entirely. Congress should pass a new law financing the testing and development of new warhead designs before approving New Start. 

So yes, to recap Bolton, Bolton's mustache, and John Yoo freely admit that A) the President has all the power when it comes to treaties (and cite examples of such) but B) they think the Senate should ignore that power and do what the three of them want anyway by passing a law that basically scuttles the treaty anyway, so please ignore all that plenary powers of the Office of the President that we pushed with Bush.

For this awesome level of intellectual consistency, Bolton, Bolton's mustache, and John Yoo continue to be treated as Serious Policy Wonks and get columns in the NY Times.



SteveAR said...

I would suggest people read the whole op-ed. They clearly don't suggest what is implied by Zandar.

Zandar said...

Yeah, other than the fact they clearly say that reducing nukes is a mistake and that they think Senate Republicans should scuttle New START.

SteveAR said...

Your post had to do with how Bolton (and his 'Stache) and Yoo see how treaties are handled by the Legislative and Executive Branches. What they say in their piece is correct, something you didn't disagree with in your reply to my comment.

By the way, there was a worldwide treaty back in 1935 to limit the number and size of capital ships (battleships and battle cruisers). You know what it did? It allowed Nazi Germany and Japan to expand the size and and number of capital ships to reach parity with Britain and France; in other words, it was a failure. Which is what this new START treaty is; it gives Russia the go-ahead to expand their nuclear arsenal and limits the U.S. It's already a failure.

This treaty needs to go into the Senate round file, just like Kyoto.

Zandar said...

Actually I disagree with their premise totally. We need to reduce nukes in the world. Even Reagan said "trust but verify" when it came to reducing nukes.

And we're really comparing Putin's Russia to Nazi Germany?

SteveAR said...

Actually I disagree with their premise totally.

See, I don't. I think we have enough checks and balances in place that makes the U.S. government more responsible when it comes to nukes than any other in the world. The other free nations (Britain, France, Israel, etc.) are a close second to the U.S. I'm not an advocate for using them except for strict defense. But foreign policy isn't just about making allies, but making sure rivals and enemies think twice about screwing around with the U.S. If there is to be a reduction of nukes in the world, then they should be reduced everywhere else first before the U.S. considers its own reduction on its own schedule.

Bottom line, I don't think it's realistic to worry about reducing U.S. nukes at this time.

And we're really comparing Putin's Russia to Nazi Germany?

No. If anything, I'm comparing Putin to Hitler: Putin is a Communist, and although Hitler wasn't, a Communist is no different than a Nazi; Putin was the former head of the Soviet Union's KGB; Putin is completely untrustworthy (he keeps trying to find ways to maintain power); and Putin is prone to waging an illegal, violent conflict (remember, he did illegally invade Georgia). Putin has a lot of Hitler's bad qualities.

Zandar said...

Reducing nukes is not realistic?

Why, do we not have enough to vaporize humanity?

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