Nuclear treaty that Obama is pushing will put US at risk 

The Russian roulette scene from “The Deer Hunter” film was meant as a metaphor for the war in Vietnam. Its message was that by sending troops to Southeast Asia, the U.S. was playing a “game” just as senseless and fatal. Regardless of what one thinks of the Vietnam War, no one would suggest that a Russian roulette foreign policy makes sense. Yet, that seems to be what’s in store for us over the coming months.

The “bullets” in this revived game are a variety of bad treaties that have languished in the Senate, unapproved, for years — and with good reason. President Barack Obama seems intent on pushing through at least one them before the election — another “trophy” for his foreign policy wall.

The president believes that the U.S. should play a more restrained and humble role in the world. To achieve that goal, he must build up a superstructure of international governance and agreements that substitute for America defending its own interests. Waiting to learn which bad treaty he’ll push has become Washington’s version of Russian roulette.

The shot should come soon. Treaties are notoriously difficult to get through the Senate in an election year. Moreover, polls indicate Obama’s party may not control the Senate after next year’s election. Therefore, this year could be his last best chance to ram a treaty through.

State Department officials indicate the heavy favorite is the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Signing onto the ban would cement Obama’s reputation as the “road to zero” president — the man who did everything possible to rid the world of America’s nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, few treaties are worse for American national security. That’s why the Senate rejected it in 1999, and why no president has since brought it up again. For starters, the treaty isn’t even precise on what it bans. The U.S. interpreted the treaty to mean “zero yield,” in other words no testing that might release any nuclear energy at all.

Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories labeled the term as “not a technically viable statement” — i.e., the U.S. interpretation defies physics, as any testing with fissile material will release nuclear energy.

Perhaps that’s why other states (Russia and China, to name two) don’t agree that the treaty means “zero yield.” It’s not smart to sign a treaty when the parties disagree on what it means.

Furthermore, the U.S. may well need to test new nuclear weapons in the future. Obama seems perfectly happy to let our nuclear arsenal atrophy and become obsolete, but future presidents may see it

The more the U.S. disarms, the more valuable other nations’ weapons become. They’re content to watch Obama play Russian roulette as they push full steam ahead with their nuclear programs.

Examiner columnist James Jay Carafano is a senior research fellow for national security at The Heritage Foundation.

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