START Signing2

From Charles Hoskinson, POLITICO:  Surviving a tough ratification battle in the Senate, the New START treaty with Russia has sparked a three-way tug of war over missile defense that pits the Obama administration against the Russian government and congressional Republicans.

The administration is negotiating with Russia to resolve disagreements over whether the treaty allows the U.S. and NATO to continue with plans to build a defensive missile shield against possible nuclear threats from Iran, North Korea or other rogue states.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are pushing legislation that would codify into law the administration’s written assurances that helped secure ratification of the treaty last December in the lame-duck session of Congress.

The legislation, tucked into the annual defense policy bill that passed the House in May, would bar any reduction in U.S. missile defense capabilities unless authorized by Congress or as part of a treaty ratified by the Senate. The Senate’s version of the bill that’s awaiting floor action doesn’t include that language, drawing a veto threat from the White House.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), sponsor of the House provision, and other Republicans are concerned that President Barack Obama might go back on his word to get a deal with the Russians.

“The president is either being disingenuous in his dealings with the Russians or in his assurances to Congress,” Turner said in an interview. “This is an administration that continues to concede to Russia without any real gains. They were out-bargained in START, and I’m very concerned that they will be out-bargained on missile defense.” 

“The agreement with Romania on the deployment at the former Air Force base Deveselu of the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system, as well as the recent announcement of the forthcoming deployment in Turkey of the U.S. AN/TPY-2 radar shows that U.S. anti-missile plans are being implemented swiftly and according to schedule,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “This is happening against the backdrop of the absence of progress in the Russia-NATO and Russia-U.S. dialogues on the topic of the missile shield."  (Photo: Getty)