Hours after President Obama's call for reduction of U.S. nuclear arms by one third if Russia does the same with its nuclear arsenal, opposition from House Republicans was growing larger and angrier.
With lawmakers occupied with major domestic legislation from the farm bill to the comprehensive immigration package, reaction to the president's proposal made in his speech at the Berlin Wall was slow in coming in.
But by late afternoon on Wednesday, many Republican House members had seen the address on TV or read it and quickly condemned the president's remarks.
"At best, it's naive," Republican freshman Rep. Trey Radel of Florida, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Newsmax, "We are placing national security into a lofty idea of hope. Does [Obama] really believe the Ahmadinejads of the world will get rid of their arms?
"As a superpower, we need to instill fear into the rogue nations of the world -- whether it's Iran, which speaks of wiping Israel off the map, or North Korea, which speaks of missiles that will reach California. Our policy should be to maintain a credible deterrent," Radel said.
Another Republican freshman on the House Foreign Affairs Committee denounced Obama's proposal as "the polar opposite of the Reagan doctrine -- instead of peace through strength, this will lead to war through weakness."
In criticizing the president's Berlin speech, Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas noted that "Obama is reaching out to the Russians but not the Chinese, who have no restrictions at all on their nuclear weapons arsenal."
Like other Republican members of Congress who were upset at the president's call for nuclear cuts, Stockman told Newsmax that "this is the next step after the remark [Obama] made to [then-Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev last year saying he could do more after he was re-elected and would no longer be a candidate for anything. It was picked up off-mike since he obviously didn't intend for us to know about it."
The anger among House Republicans over the president's proposal spread from freshmen -- who are normally more outspoken about the Obama agenda -- to more senior lawmakers.
Interrupting her work on the farm bill, House Republican Conference Secretary Virginia Foxx of North Carolina told reporters: "Negotiating arms reductions with Russia will do nothing to make the United States safer or curb the nuclear aspirations of terror-harboring regimes. That is just one of the reasons why the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act restricts funding for the implementation of the New START Treaty.
"Evil in the world will be neither inspired nor swayed by the example of the United States reducing its weapons. Our strength as the world's military leader is grounded in our strategic preparedness and in the brave men and women who volunteer to serve in our armed forces," Foxx said.
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