In a show of 21st century détente, President Bush signed a 3 page treaty with Vladimir Putin this week which sets up a framework for making sure that the Russian leader will be invited to more future meetings at the President's Crawford ranch than Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
Incidentally, the treaty also sets the stage for some "reductions" of nuclear arms; which is consistent with the President's other promised "reductions" in that these "reductions," will actually result in an increase in nuclear arms. A high ranking Republican Congressman speaking on a condition of anonymity told reporters, "With this reduction in nuclear arms, the President has shown the American public that world peace is just as important to ignore as clean air and water." By lowering the number of nuclear warheads "on active duty," by letting the rest go on vacation, the President has introduced almost as shrewd a semantic argument as that made by his predecessor Mr. Clinton, when he said, "I did not have sex with that woman."
But the treaty represents a marked departure from some of President Bush's other recent policies. Although the President is a strong advocate for accountability and testing when it comes to the evaluation of student's test scores and their impact on funding for school districts, the nuclear arms treaty has no such provisions for verifying that any arms cuts are actually implemented. This of course is easy to explain, since nuclear weapons are much more dangerous than high school students; even if these students are armed to the teeth as their constitutional right to bear arms allows.
According to USA Today, U.S. officials said the treaty will go to the Senate, where it will need a two-thirds vote to be ratified. Since the treaty doesn't actually accomplish anything, it should come as no surprise that there is no strong, organized opposition in Congress where inflammatory rhetoric is consistently followed by inaction. But what has not been reported in the mainstream press is that the support for this treaty is due in part to the general bipartisan feeling that, in his parties at the Crawford Ranch, the President will have much more of a challenge trying to drink Mr. Putin under the table than Prince Abdullah.
CNN reported that the President said, "This is good news for the American people," noting the agreement would make "the world more peaceful and put behind us the Cold War once and for all." The Cold War, of course being the arms race begun in 1945; and should not to be confused with the massive current buildup and extension of military technology and power, and the development of a United States missile shield currently under way. Calling this military buildup an extension of Cold War policy would be a misnomer, because the current administration says so.
If there is any question about the importance of this treaty, one need not look any farther than the following statement as reported on CNN.com; something really to be proud of in the sphere of cooperative international relations:
"Since this treaty does exactly what we wanted to do and what we were going to do anyway, it is our kind of treaty," another senior official said. "It was not that important to us and if it gives Putin something important, that's a good thing."
One major issue in the negotiations was whether the warheads would be destroyed or dismantled and put into storage. Russia wanted them destroyed and the United States wanted to put a number of warheads in storage to be available in an emergency.
A senior administration official told CNN some warheads would be destroyed as part of the pact and some will be stored. No percentages were released.
"We have now identified a formula which allows us to do what we want to do and them to do what they want to do," another official said. "We don't have to destroy them."
American taxpayers should be proud that their dollars are so well spent in developing a series of high level diplomatic meetings in order to generate a complex "formula" that allows everyone to do whatever they want to do. Without this treaty, everyone would do whatever they wanted to do, so it's good that Mr. Bush had the foresight to put such an important device in place to ensure this outcome.
In a show of comradeship the administration would not bend to Russian desires to have the treaty include limits on a U.S.-proposed missile defense system; this would have violated the spirit of the treaty, by not allowing the United States to do whatever it wants to do.
Tax cuts, clean air, airport security, and now world peace; George W. Bush has done it again.