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START for Israel; START against Iran

Ali Gharib | Lobe Log | November 22nd, 2010

Earlier today on National Review’s The Corner blog, Foundation for Defense of Democracies head honcho Cliff May wrote:

I’m now hearing from more than one source on the Hill that the Obama administration has just added a new argument in favor of lame-duck ratification: failure to adopt START will “hurt Israel.”

May demurs, naturally (the New START is an Obama Administration initiative, after all), then tells a joke, sets up a straw man, and knocks it down. May thinks the Obama administration scare tactic will be that without START, Russia’s nukes will  start “somehow leaking out and getting into the hands of Iran’s bad boys or other terrorists.”

But that wasn’t the Israel angle played by Jewish groups later in the day — though their tack does have something to do with Iran.

Laura Rozen reports for Politico:

Both the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) cited the importance of passage of the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms reduction treaty in order to maintain American-Russian cooperation in countering the Iran nuclear threat.

“We are deeply concerned that failure to ratify the New START treaty will have national security consequences far beyond the subject of the treaty itself,” the ADL said in a letter sent to every Senator Friday.

“The U.S. diplomatic strategy to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons requires a U.S.-Russia relationship of trust and cooperation,” ADL continues. “The severe damage that could be inflicted on that relationship by failing to ratify the treaty would inevitably hamper effective American international leadership to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program.”

The New START treaty may indeed be a necessary step for global security, but questions should be raised about linking it to Iran. This support by pro-Israel groups may prove to haunt U.S. policy towards Iran in the future.

One might compare this tack in pushing START to the sort of message Benjamin Netanyahu took away from meeting with Barack Obama about engaging in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks: that getting the job done (or at least getting to the table) will help the U.S. isolate Iran and contain its nuclear ambitions.

How many of these bargains can Obama enter into before he must pay the piper and make the ultimate escalation against Iran? If the diplomatic strategy fails, then what?

Perhaps this is pointing out the obvious: Something is truly amiss when a treaty to limit nuclear proliferation is being sold as the way to defend and protect a country that has an ever expanding — and clandestine — nuclear arsenal.


Obama Pushes START Treaty to Top of Legislative Agenda

By Jim Lobe | IPS | December 2, 2010

WASHINGTON – With time running out before he faces a much more hostile and Republican Congress, President Barack Obama appears to have made Senate ratification of the pending New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia his top legislative priority.

Not only has he bowed to Republican demands to allocate more money for Washington’s nuclear arms programme, but he has suggested that he’s also willing to cave in to Republican demands to extend tax cuts for high-income households – despite record federal deficits – in order to gain START ratification.

And he’s getting considerable help from big guns in what remains of the Republican foreign policy Establishment, including five former secretaries of state whose service spanned the last five Republican administrations.

In an op-ed heralded by the White House on the eve of its publication in Thursday’s Washington Post, former secretaries Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Colin Powell concluded that the New START was “clearly in our national interest” and should be ratified. […]

Obama, who had promised during the 2008 election campaign not to raise taxes on households earning 250,000 dollars a year or less, had hoped that allowing the cuts to expire on those earning more than that would help cut the federal deficit by several hundred billion dollars over the next few years.

His apparent willingness to compromise on this issue in order to secure START is causing growing dismay among his supporters. … Full article by Jim Lobe

December 5, 2010 - Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel


  1. So a good relationship with Russia and the US is important and so is the freedom of Jonathan Pollard? Isn’t that like a rapist hoping his victim gets well soon, but not enough so that she can soberly make it to the courtroom?


    Comment by Eric Vaughan | December 5, 2010

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