Cornyn: No START ‘Litmus Test’ in 2012

The New START treaty continues to be a hot topic in the Senate, where it remains one of the last lame-duck items up for consideration. It is also becoming an important foreign-policy question for potential presidential contenders, as National Review Online has documented.

Looking ahead to 2012, one wonders whether a candidate’s position on the treaty will become an on-the-trail issue for those running not only for president, but for the U.S. Senate.

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, tells NRO that he does not see START as a make-or-break issue for candidates.

“It’s hard for me to see this being a litmus test,” Cornyn says. So there will be room for discussion on this and other foreign-policy concerns? “Absolutely,” he replies.

A handful of rumored Republican START supporters — plus Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Ind.), one of the treaty’s main boosters — are up for reelection in 2012.

“That said, I think it’s a bad treaty,” Cornyn adds. “It gives the advantage to the Russian Federation and would, arguably, constrain our ability to defend ourselves and our allies through the missile-defense program.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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