01 December 2010

A Dangerous Game

Political football is played on both sides of the aisle, but congressional Republicans have taken the game too far by playing it with something as fundamentally necessary and beneficial as a renewed nuclear non-proliferation treaty with Russia.

The New START Treaty should be a no-brainer for passage yet Senate Republicans, led by Jon Kyl of Arizona, have chosen to delay consideration of this crucial piece of legislation under the guise of focusing on what the American people "really" need: lower taxes and less government spending.

Now Americans definitely seem to want both of these things, but to hold a recently expired, globally beneficial nuclear pact hostage for their sake is irresponsible and short-sighted at best and self-destructively hawkish at worst. There are few areas of disagreement in regards to this treaty, both within the American government and overseas with the Russians, and those that do exist can be resolved after the main goals of continued mutual disarmament and nuclear facility inspections are formally agreed upon.

But instead of doing what is right, Kyl and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have come out swinging with heavy rhetoric promising the block of the nuke deal's ratification (and all other legislation) unless select issues, ones that don't have the potential to end in a musroom cloud, are considered. Sounds dangerous to me.

For Republicans to claim that extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% of the population is a more pressing priority than actively showing our commitment to nuclear non-proliferation just to gain political points with an angry and influential electorate is ridiculous. We elect our leaders to be responsible, especially with regard to issues of nuclear safety and national security, not to simply respond to the will of a clamoring public in order to ensure reelection (see: John McCain).

Congress must pass the New START Treaty as soon as possible. Then we can get back to bickering.