Obama faces fight over missile defense as he presses New START ratification

President Barack Obama, November 30, 2010.

From Mary Beth Sheridan, the Washington Post:  With only days left in the lame-duck Congress, President [Barack] Obama is pushing hard to accomplish something never before done by a Democratic president: successfully get a nuclear arms-reduction treaty through the ratification process.

But it has become clear that Obama is facing a fight over the same issue that derailed President Bill Clinton‘s quest for a similar accord – missile defense, a cherished Republican goal dating back to Ronald Reagan‘s presidency. When Republican senators now say they need a fuller debate on the treaty, this is an important part of what they want to discuss.

"Missile defense remains a major point of disagreement between the United States and Russia, and this treaty only makes the situation worse," Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) wrote recently on National Review Online.

Some Republicans say they want to tweak the Senate resolution of ratification with the goal of then supporting it. Others argue the treaty itself needs amendments which could kill it. …

Treaty supporters say the outcry over missile defense is unfounded – and suspect it is a tactic to score political points. They note that there is almost nothing on missile defense in the treaty, which runs more than 300 pages with annexes, and Obama has continued many of George W. Bush‘s missile-defense policies.  (photo: Getty)

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