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November 30, 2009

Jon Kyl's Discipline
Posted by James Lamond

Jon Kyl, the Senate Minority Whip –the second ranking Republican in the Senate whose task it is to maintain party discipline –has not exactly been the most disciplined messenger on foreign policy for his part lately. 

First his comments yesterday on FOX News Sunday about president’s upcoming Afghanistan announcement.  The Junior Senator from Arizona actually insisted any kind of exit strategy would be dangerous.  He said yesterday that:

“talk of an exit strategy is exactly the wrong way to go. And I hear that on the -- in the media. I certainly hope the president doesn’t do that, because all that does is signal to the enemies and also to our allies, to the folks in Pakistan as well as the Afghanis, that we’re not there to stay until the mission is accomplished.”

I would think that most people, regardless of their view on the war would agree that it is unwise and immoral to send soldiers into a fight without "talk of an exit strategy."

Last week, however the Minority Whip took it to another level when speaking about the follow-on agreement for START.  The Cable reported last week  that:

"Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, the number two Republican in the Senate, is leading the drumbeat decrying the lack of an interim or 'bridge' agreement, which he says bodes poorly for the negotiations. Kyl just returned from a trip to Geneva with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and issued a memo, obtained by The Cable, that warns about what might happen after the deadline passes
'For the first time in 15 years, an extensive set of verification, notification, elimination and other confidence building measures will expire ... Yet, no one appears to know what will come next,' Kyl wrote. 'That we don't have answers to these questions is alarming, more so because our negotiators must have known for months that a ‘bridge' would be necessary.'"

In the memo he wrote, Kyl said that

“I was shocked that there had been virtually no talk - and I know this from my conversations with members of both the Russian and U.S. delegations in Geneva - of what happens after December 5th and prior to the possible entry into force of the follow-on agreement when and if it is signed by the two Executives. Mr. President, I don’t say this lightly, but, this borders on malpractice.”

Besides the fact that the Administration has in fact been negotiating a bridging document in parallel with the follow-on agreement and the key administration principles on nonproliferation have been discussing the bridging document for months, Sen. Kyl continues to be shocked.

After just now discovering that there is no bridging agreement in place –two weeks before it is scheduled to end, months after the Obama administration has been talking about it, and after eight years of the Bush administration doing nothing to work towards a follow-on agreement–Kyl makes the case for a “bridging” or “collar” agreement, because “For the first time in 15 years, an extensive set of verification, notification, elimination and other confidence building measures will expire.” 

So basically, Kyl is making the case for the bridging document because it would be terrible if the verification measures in START were to expire, yet he does not support the START follow-on agreement which would leave the verification measures for both START and SORT void.  Tom Collina of the Arms Control Association writes that,   "some Senate Republicans are gearing up for battle on treaty ratification. Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said in a Senate floor speech Oct. 19 that Russia’s development of the new multiple-warhead RS-24 missile violates the current START." Kyl claims that Russia had cheated on the agreement even though the Bush administration had made it clear that they did not have any objections on the issue Kyl is raising.  Kyl even penned an op-ed this summer with the neoconservative “Prince Of Darkness” Richard Perle, where the two argued against the nonproliferation agreements in general.

Kyl’s absurd stance on an exit strategy and self-contradiction on nonproliferation just shows how conservative leaders do not take national security issues seriously. 

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Sorry, but Senator Kyl is right on this one.

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

So where's that "bridging document" the Administration has been negotiating "in parallel with the follow-on agreement . . . for months" ? ?

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

You've actually missed the central point of Kyl's hypocracy. He fully supported the Bush Administration's policies on arms control, praising the 2002 Moscow Treaty precisely because it lacked verification measures, and fully supporting the last Administration's intent to let START lapse entirely on Saturday. Now he has found religion. Now he bemoans the possibility that START will lapse and we will lose the verification provisions. He states clearly that he thinks the Administration should have pursued an extension of START, instead of a new treaty. In other words, he recently supported, with full-throated praise, the outcome he know decries, and objected to the outcome (extension) that he now supports. What's changed? When Bush was letting START lapse, it meant we would be free and unfettered in the future. For Kyl, that's a good outcome. Obama is planning to replace START with a new Treaty, for Kyl, that is a bad outcome. If he owns up to his previous support for the absence of all verification, he will look really bad. But he is dead set against the new treaty. In the current environment, no one will pay attention to you if you are against both the old treaty and the new treaty, so he now favors the old treaty. Its amazingly transparent and hypocritical.

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