Obama presses balking Senate Republicans to ratify START

SMU Polititcal Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the political gamesmanship surrounding the START treaty.

By Julie Mason
Examiner White House Correspondent

Facing the unappealing prospect of meeting his Russian counterpart with their nuclear arms deal unraveling, President Obama Thursday intensified pressure on the Senate to ratify START.

"The key point here is this is not about politics -- it's about national security," Obama said. "This is not a matter that can be delayed." . . .

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is the cornerstone of Obama's nuclear disarmament program, a legacy-building initiative that until now drew only muted response from Republicans. . .

But Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said the current delay of START is part of a larger Republican strategy to deny Obama any meaningful victories.

The old Washington political chestnut that "politics ends at the shoreline," meaning that foreign policy is largely exempt from partisan debate, hasn't been operative for years, Jillson said.

"We used to think that meant the Atlantic, but it could be the Mississippi," Jillson said. "It could be the Snake River in Idaho."

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