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Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 1999/8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Senate GOP shows statesmanship -- WEDNESDAY, THE SENATE REPUBLICANS, by soundly rejecting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), put the lie to the oft-repeated charge that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

I could show you countless e-mails and a good number of columns arguing the Republicans have become so weak and rudderless that they are no better for this country than Democrats.

They cite example after example illustrating their point. Many, admittedly, are difficult to refute.

Many commentators, myself included, have been very hard on Senate Republicans from time to time during the past year, especially during the impeachment proceedings. But they deserve abundant praise for their courage in rejecting the ill-conceived CTBT.

The Republicans chose a very important issue to show their mettle. It is hard to overstate the monumental significance of their action. Once again, the GOP has demonstrated itself to be the party of peace -- peace through strength.

This was an act of pure statesmanship: doing what is right for the country, regardless of the political consequences.

Of course, President Clinton predictably accused Republicans of rank partisanship in killing the treaty. "Never before has a serious treaty involving nuclear weapons been handled in such a reckless and ultimately partisan way. This was a political deal, and I hope it will get the treatment from the American people it richly deserves."

Read Clinton's quote again. His words, though intended for Republicans, apply perfectly to him and his actions. It was the president who, as usual, was placing politics and his own personal interests above the national interests.

Think about it. What possible political motive could the Republicans have had to reject this treaty? The polls show overwhelming public support for its ratification. And do you think they relish with anticipation the epithets the president is sure to throw their way: "the Republicans care more about their party than the safety of their own children."

The president, on the other hand, was counting on this treaty as being a major notch in his foreign policy achievement belt. He has proven all too many times that he is willing to put his interests above the national security, so his criticisms ring a bit hollow here.

The ironic and maddening thing is that on every policy issue, Clinton liberals always seem to start with that smug presumption of moral superiority. For them, eliminating inanimate explosive objects, whether guns or nukes, is the only avenue to peace and safety. They have never quite grasped the utter folly of their position.

How juvenile for them to continue railing that the eradication of our nuclear superiority will lead to peace. How wrongheaded! How outrageous!

It is time that Republicans went on the attack on this issue. They need to take their case to the public and demonstrate just how reckless and irresponsible this treaty was. The truth is that the ratification of this treaty would have made the United States and its citizens more vulnerable to nuclear attack.

Countless defense and foreign policy officials and experts from past administrations vehemently opposed this treaty. They can hardly be accused of trying to build their already-established legacies.

After cutting through all the legalese and misinformation, the simple facts about this treaty are:

  • The United States enjoys nuclear superiority in the world today;

  • U.S. nuclear superiority is vital for world peace, and especially for U.S. security and peace;

  • The CTBT would have permanently prevented the United States from field-testing its weapons, thereby severely impeding our ability to maintain and modernize our nuclear forces, eroding our nuclear deterrent and the confidence of our allies;

  • The CTBT, because of its unverifiability and unenforceability, would have encouraged despots and terrorists to develop and augment their nuclear arsenals.

  • The CTBT would have been devastating to world peace and U.S. security.

There is an added bonus for Republicans in all of this. Ronald Reagan proved countless times that principled actions ultimately yield incidental political benefits as well. Whether or not Senate Republicans realize it, their noble action in standing up to the bullying tactics of Bill Clinton and protecting our vital security interests will energize the base of their party and bring many back to the fold.

Kudos to Senator Lott and the GOP.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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