President Barack Obama is pushing for dangerous cutbacks in nuclear weapons and may bypass the Senate to implement them, says former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Obama has expressed a strong desire to jettison all nuclear weapons, Bolton and John Yoo, a Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, write in The Wall Street Journal
. The president now seeks even deeper reductions than those mandated in the 2011 New Start Treaty with Russia.
“Such cuts threaten both the viability of our strategic deterrent and the Senate's constitutional say over treaties, a critical check on executive power in foreign affairs,” say Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Two-thirds of the Senate must approve any treaty. But Obama is unlikely to attract the support he would need from 12 Republican senators to support a new nuclear deal with Russia. So a State Department advisory group has recommended that the United States and Russia adopt weapons cuts without a treaty.
"Unilateral and coordinated reductions can be quicker and less politically costly . . . relative to treaties with adversarial negotiations and difficult ratification processes," a report from the group states.
Bolton and Yoo couldn’t disagree more.
“Senators should block end-runs around the Constitution's treaty clause,” they write. “An informal agreement would prevent effective congressional scrutiny of the unwise rush to slash the nuclear arsenal, America's ultimate national-security safeguard and a crucial buttress of world peace.”
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