Remember how important it was to pass New START during the lame duck session, rather than waiting until January?
We were told that anything less would have angered the Russians and, in Harry Reid’s words, put nukes in the hands of terrorists. Any attempt to amend the treaty to clarify the preamble language regarding missile defense was considered out of bounds.
The entire mainstream media and several Republicans jumped on the “we must pass it as is now or else” bandwagon.
There was no crisis, however, requiring a lame duck vote. In fact, the Russians are in no hurry to have their own nominal parliament ratify the treaty.
Via Ace of Spades HQ, it turns out the Russians will not even consider ratifying the treaty until sometime next year. And via HotAir, the Russians still disagree with Obama’s assertion that the preamble language regarding missile defense is not binding (why include it in the preamble if you didn’t really mean it?).
While passage in the Russian parliament is assured because Putin has blessed the treaty, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to have some fun with us, by having their parliament go through a legislative review process which is more open and measured than our own hysterical Congress.
Via the Russian news agency RIA Novosti yesterday:
The lower house of the Russian parliament is to meet later in the day to set a date on the ratification procedure for the new arms pact with the United States, the State Duma said on Thursday.
It said the Duma Council will meet at 4:00 p.m. Moscow time (13:00 GMT) to set the time and date and prior to that the house foreign relations committee is to submit its recommendations on the ratification procedure.
There are several options: The document may be considered as is – as it was submitted by the president or the president will resubmit it as amended or, if necessary, the lawmakers themselves will make amendments to the text….
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier in the day Moscow was waiting for the text of the U.S. Senate ratification resolution to proceed with its own ratification process….
Obama hailed New START as “the most significant arms control agreement in nearly two decades.”
[Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev also welcomed the move but said that “the parliament might need some time to study the legal aspects of the ratification by the Senate prior to making its own decision,” his spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said.
The Russian parliament voted in favor of the treaty today, but is going to hold two more votes in January to give time for evaluation of the interpretations Obama gave to Congress, which the Russian Foreign Minister characterized as “onerous.”
Will Republicans never learn? The legislation by crisis model is a ruse. There almost never is a true crisis requiring a precipitous vote. But it sure does work. Just ask the future Mayor of Chicago.