Obama is pushing for dangerous cutbacks in nuclear weapons and may bypass the Senate to implement them, according to 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.
And he is even seeking a bigger reduction 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.
But 2/3 of the Senate must approve any treaty. 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.”