The United States Senate (the lame-duck version) will probably vote on the new Start Treaty sometime this week (It will need two-thirds of the Senators present voting for it to pass, which is normally 67 Senators). Supposedly this would be a first as no major treaty has ever been ratified during a lame-duck session.
It appears Montana’s two U.S. Senators, Max Baucus and Jon Tester, will vote for it.
It’s easy to say that a vote for the new Start Treaty by Senators Baucus and Tester is basically a vote against the future of Malmstrom AFB, but on a much bigger scale, it is a vote against the future security of our Nation.
The Treaty needs more debate and there are several questions that need answered.
It appears we have given up the farm in these negotiations. President Obama’s goal is to do away with nuclear weapons. This New Start Treaty gets the ball rolling, first by cutting the number of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) from the present 450 ICBMs to 420, and maybe even less – maybe even a whole base or two will get the ax.
Currently, there are three ICBM bases left (Minot in North Dakota, F.E. Warren in Wyoming, and Malmstrom in Montana). They have 150 ICBMs each, which totals 450. In 2007, Tester and Baucus allowed 50 missiles to be taken from Malmstrom to bring the base down to its current level of 150. Local military supporters basically turned the other cheek.
ICBMs are an important leg of the strategic triad that works.
Since the 1960s, ICBM missile sites have dotted the landscape across these states. They are relatively cheap to maintain. These missiles are a deterrent to an attack from Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, or any other nation who feels the need.
Some people who follow this issue believe the New Start Treaty actually allows Russia to increase their nuclear stockpile while the United States will be required to reduce theirs. Some people believe it prevents the United States from deploying a missile defense (why are defensive weapons even being considered in this Treaty?) Others believe the verification portion of the treaty is harmful to the United States.
There are just too many issues with the New Start Treaty for the Obama Administration to push it through the lame-duck Senate the week before Christmas.
Instead of trying to ram this through like they did the healthcare bill, it would be in the United States best interest if they would hold off on this vote until questions are answered and most everyone feels it actually is in the best interest of the United States.