Financial Times' Ed Luce: Republicans Have Greater Hatred Of Obama Than Love Of American National Security

While discussing Admiral Mike Mullen's interview on This Week where he called a vote on the START treaty during the lame duck session of Congress "absolutely critical", The Financial Times' Ed Luce summed up very well just what's motivating
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While discussing Admiral Mike Mullen's interview on This Week, where he called a vote on the START treaty during the lame duck session of Congress "absolutely critical", The Financial Times' Ed Luce summed up very well just what's motivating Republicans to obstruct the treaty's passage: hatred of President Obama.

AMANPOUR: And, again, as Admiral Mullen said, it's not just a nice treaty with a foreign country. It is about Russia's cooperation on all the issues that the United States needs, whether it's Afghanistan, Iran, and all the rest of it.

Plus, I don't know what you think, but some are saying that this could give rise to the hard-liners in Russia again, who just do not want to -- who just don't want to deal with the United States.

LUCE: Oh, absolutely. I think it's -- it's a dream -- if you picked two countries that would like to see a failure of ratification, it would be North Korea and Iran. And I think that -- if that argument doesn't work with the Republicans, that sort of basic elemental national security argument doesn't work, nothing is. There's -- there's a greater hatred of Obama than there is a love of American national security.

Here's more on Mullen's interview from Think Progress --Admiral Mullen: New START Is ‘Absolutely Critical’ Calls For A Vote In Lame Duck:

On ABC’s This Week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aggressively urged the Senate to ratify the New START treaty, which Senate Republicans are threatening to obstruct. Mullen stressed the urgency of getting the treaty ratified, as US inspectors haven’t been on the ground monitoring Russian nuclear weapons for almost a year now. [...]

Republican Senators, led by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), are deliberately bucking the military leadership of the United States and, according to editorial boards across the country, are playing politics with US national security.

Full transcript below the fold.

AMANPOUR: A big week for Sarah Palin, one of the topics for our roundtable with George Will, Robert Reich, author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future," Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, and Ed Luce of the Financial Times.

And I want to start with our interview with Mike Mullen. We're clearly going to get to Sarah Palin. What do you think? Admiral Mullen could barely be constrained from saying that he thought this was political, this holdup.

REICH: I thought it was very interesting, Christiane. I mean, when you asked him that question, he was very, very tempted -- you could almost read his mind -- to say that, look, Jon Kyl is taking direction from Mitch McConnell, who says explicitly that the next two years are going to be about making sure that Barack Obama is not a two-term president. And, therefore, this is all politics, and therefore, the Republicans are putting politics above national security.

AMANPOUR: I mean, on an issue like this, they can't do that, can they? I mean, really, he ticked off the military, the intelligence, the financial; all the questions that they had have been resolved.

WILL: I take Jon Kyl at his word, and I respect him very much. I think what he says is, first of all, it's nonsense to say, as Joe Biden, the gift who keeps on giving does say, that it is -- the vital national security interest of the United States is to ratify this in a lame-duck session? That means that if we didn't have a lame-duck session, which we shouldn't do ever, the nation would be...

AMANPOUR: But the vital interest is to ratify it right now, as soon as possible.

WILL: As opposed to six weeks from now? Oh, please.

AMANPOUR: But it -- but it looks like it would be put off, even if it was -- they want more debate. They want to reopen it, talk about it again.

WILL: Jon Kyl is bargaining for the modernization of our nuclear force.

AMANPOUR: So it's about money?

WILL: Can I give you -- that's part -- it's about the modernization of our force. Can I give you Will's law of arms control? Arm's control is impossible until it's unimportant. This is unimportant, so it's going to get done. That is, who lies awake at night worrying about the size, not the security, but the size of the Russian nuclear arsenal? No one.

AMANPOUR: Well, you're partly right there, because the size is not the main issue. It's the verification, which is a huge issue, and, vitally, American credibility. Here we have this story from North Korea today -- how does America stand up and say, "You guys can't proliferate," if we're not going to do this? How can we lead?

LUCE: Very, very difficult. I mean, Russia, of course, is a part of the six-party group with North Korea, and therefore its cooperation is also important there, as it is on Afghanistan, as it is on Iran.

These broader implications for failing to ratify START here go across the world. Russia's cooperation is something that Obama has worked on very successfully, very patiently, along with Hillary Clinton, for two years now, and this puts it in jeopardy.

Just one other point, though, about Mitch McConnell's pledge to make Obama a one-term president. Clearly, that's going to be the strategy of the Republicans. Question is, are they going to do it intelligently or unintelligently? And I think Senator Kyl, his comments and his stance, indicate it could well be the latter.

BRAZILE: Senator Kyl a year ago, after returning from Geneva, called upon the Senate to quickly ratify this treaty. Now, what has happened in one year? What has happened, clearly, is that the Republicans have redoubled their efforts to block anything that President Obama would like to see passed. They want to deny him a victory.

This is political malpractice. And Senator Kyl said that himself. So it might be -- George is probably correct. This might be about money, to get more money for the nuclear industry complex. The president has promised $4 billion more, but in all...

AMANPOUR: In addition to $80 billion.

BRAZILE: That's right. But in all of the hearings this year and all of the conversations, Senator Kyl, no one else, you know, expressed any objections, and now this is, I think, one of those political moments where they can succeed in blocking the president.

REICH: You know, there were 21 separate hearings and briefings. I mean, this is not something that is being put suddenly on the agenda. And for Kyl to say right now we just don't have time or this is -- there's not enough money I think defies logic.

AMANPOUR: And, again, as Admiral Mullen said, it's not just a nice treaty with a foreign country. It is about Russia's cooperation on all the issues that the United States needs, whether it's Afghanistan, Iran, and all the rest of it.

Plus, I don't know what you think, but some are saying that this could give rise to the hard-liners in Russia again, who just do not want to -- who just don't want to deal with the United States.

LUCE: Oh, absolutely. I think it's -- it's a dream -- if you picked two countries that would like to see a failure of ratification, it would be North Korea and Iran. And I think that -- if that argument doesn't work with the Republicans, that sort of basic elemental national security argument doesn't work, nothing is. There's -- there's a greater hatred of Obama than there is a love of American national security.

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