Mitt Romney launched a blistering attack in today’s Washington Post on the April 2010 New START treaty, aimed at limiting strategic nuclear weapons. On balance, I think the treaty is a good thing, though I certainly recognize that there is room for reasonable debate as to its merits. What bothers me, though, is that Romney resorts to the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty in making his case against the treaty. In particular, he is alarmed by the fact that “Russia has expressly reserved the right to walk away from the treaty if it believes that the United States has significantly increased its missile defense capability.”
Romney is either ignorant of the workings of diplomacy or engaging in demogoguery in weighty issues of foreign policy. Neither explanation suits a potential presidential candidate. ALL treaties include clauses allowing the signatories to opt out. The United States can back out of New START as easily as Russia can. Russia’s reservation with regard to missile defense only makes explicit something which has clearly been part of Russian foreign policy since Gorbachev.
Need proof that opting out a treaty is nothing new?