The PJ Tatler

Lugar to Obama: Be Concerned About Your Nuclear Arsenal

A Republican supporter of the New START Treaty gave President Obama a tsk-tsk for not following through on the nuclear modernization commitments he made to secure December 2010 passage of the pact with Russia.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said at an oversight hearing on the treaty this morning that the “final result occurred because a coalition of senators from both parties joined to bolster the twin pillars of American nuclear strategy.”

“Joining these two policies was not merely a marriage of convenience or a case of legislative log rolling,” he said of what he deemed the equal importance of the treaty and bringing the nuclear arsenal up to snuff.

“Nuclear policy is not an inconsequential seminar topic where players can score political points without incurring negative policy ramifications,” the senator said. “Every aspect of our nuclear policy and the accompanying debates are scrutinized by the Russians, the Chinese, our allies, and even rogue states.”

Lugar said he’s “deeply concerned” about the state of nuclear planning in the administration.

“I simply would say that our country is strongest and our diplomacy is most effective when nuclear policy is made by deliberate decisions in which both the legislative and executive branches fully participate,” the senator said. “This process should begin with the president of the United States. As the chief executive and commander in chief, he needs to engage with Congress on this topic personally, and he needs to weigh in more heavily on nuclear funding decisions.”