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Will Lack of Consensus Stop START?

Following the US Senate talks today on the New START treaty, the level of inter- as well as intra-party polarization on the proposed pact becomes ever more apparent.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle argues that a failure to ratify the treaty would lead to “nuclear anarchy”, attacking Mit Romney, who two weeks ago warned in a Washington Post op-ed that the agreement would shortchange the US. Joining Daschle’s attack on Romney is Republican Senator Dick Lugar, arguing the treaty would better allow the US to keep an eye on Russia. The centrist Joe Lieberman remains undecided, saying he is unable to support the document in its current state. 

The Pentagon’s lead nuclear arms authority James Miller, meanwhile, appears unworried about the possibility of Russia not playing by the rules, saying any cheating on Russia’s part would not seriously undermine US security. John McCain, however, questions the validity of an agreement, where “any cheating by the Russians would have little, if any effect”. With the Senate hearings now finished, it seems the vote could swing either way.