Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., ripped the Biden administration Friday for its proposed extension of the sole remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, telling “The Story” it places national security at risk.
“This is a very bad decision,” Cotton told host Martha MacCallum. “It puts America’s national security at risk. The new START treaty is a one-sided treaty that favors Russia.”
The Trump administration had waited until last year to begin talks on prolonging the pact, and included a list of demands Russia would not meet.
“After four years of the Democrats beating their chests about Russia and continuing on and on about the Russia collusion hoax, they’ve now gone back to their old, weak, dovish ways of appeasing Russia,” Cotton said. “We are at the risk of facing nuclear overmatch by the combined nuclear forces of Russia and China, and it was a terrible decision of the Biden administration to fold their cards and give Vladimir Putin exactly what he wanted on their very first day in office.”
The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. It expires on Feb. 5, according to the Associated Press.
The treaty does not cover small nuclear warheads and tactical nuclear weapons, Cotton contended, as well as some newer, “more sophisticated” systems that Putin has boasted about.
“It ties one hand behind America’s back, but it leaves Russia free to continue to develop all these other nuclear technologies,” he said.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said failure to renew the treaty would “weaken America’s understanding of Russia’s long-range nuclear forces.”
“Just as we engage Russia in ways that advance American interests, we in the Department will remain clear-eyed about the challenges Russia poses and committed to defending the nation against their reckless and adversarial actions,” he said.