McCain’s START Amendment Falls

by Robert Costa

The Arizona Republican’s missile-defense amendment to the New START treaty fell this afternoon, as 59 senators voted to block it and 37 senators supported it. McCain tells National Review Online that he remains “very concerned” about the treaty. Still, he notes that he has “not made up my mind” with regard to his final vote on the measure.

The amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) would have separated the issue of defensive missile interceptors from efforts to reduce American and Russian stockpiles of intercontinental offensive nuclear weapons.

The treaty’s preamble specifically links the issues by “recognizing the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms” and goes on to state “This interrelationship will become more important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced.”

McCain argued that it is not appropriate to link the development of missile defenses to negotiations to reduce the nearly 25,000 offensive nuclear weapons possessed between Russia and the United States.

“It’s not appropriate for today, when the United States and the Russian Federation, for all of our differences, are not devoted to one another’s destruction and when one of the greatest threats to our national security comes from rogue states, like Iran and North Korea, which are developing nuclear weapons and increasingly better means to deliver them,” McCain said.

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