Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), one of the “Republican Party’s senior voices on foreign affairs, fired back Thursday at Mitt Romney over his opposition to the new nuclear treaty with Russia, accusing Mr. Romney of ‘hyperbolic’ rhetoric that is divorced from the reality of arms control,” the New York Times reports.
In an unusually harsh statement, Mr. Lugar said Mr. Romney “repeated discredited objections” to the treaty and “appears unaware of arms control history and context.” The senator said rejecting the treaty, as Mr. Romney has urged, would mean giving up any human monitoring of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and guarantee no follow-up agreement to further limit nuclear weapons.
“Governor Romney offers additional misreadings and myths that have been refuted explicitly in Congressional hearings,” said Mr. Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among other things, Mr. Lugar said the treaty imposes no restriction on current American plans for missile defense and has the support of prominent Republican national security leaders like former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger.
The statement by Mr. Lugar responds to a column signed by Mr. Romney in Tuesday’s Washington Post. Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a possible presidential candidate in 2012, wrote that the New Start treaty signed by President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia was perhaps Mr. Obama’s “worst foreign policy mistake yet” and called on Senate Republicans to block ratification.
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